Posted by: earthandbeyond | May 29, 2008

Science versus Religion

I am educated as a scientist.  I’ve never gone to church, except for weddings.  I respect others’ beliefs, and don’t get into any arguments or discussions about religion.  I am not religious at all.  Now, what I dislike is how science and religion always seem to be at war with each other.  There are fundamentalists who seem to think anything scientific is of no use to them.  There are some science loving Atheists who enjoy bashing religion any chance they can get.  Yes, I am an Atheist.  But I don’t go around bashing others’ religions.  I respect their choices in their lives.  Another thing I really dislike is when people who have no idea about anything scientific talk as if they are an authority on the subject. 

I was browsing around on Bad Astronomy, and I found something very interesting:  a discussion about Ray Comfort’s blog.  He thinks Mars is just dirt.  He obviously has no idea what he’s talking about.  He also says that the Moon is just dirt.  Actually, dirt is a product of biological processes, as someone commented on his blog.  Of course, there are a lot of arguments on this blog against the cost of Phoenix.  $420 million is a lot of money.  One person even commented that “So many people, including children, are starving to death in our world.. and even people in American (sic) and Australia and suffering and living in poverty. I do believe that the money could have been better spent. I would rather search for life on other planets AFTER we have fed those who are on ours.”  The problem that I have with this comment is that the amount of money spent on Phoenix would feed all of the starving people in the world such an insignificant amount of food.  People need to understand the scale of feeding the hungry people in the world.  It would take about the cost of one Phoenix every day.  Phoenix could have been just a single meal for the world’s hungry people.  Maybe even less.  The cost of Phoenix is that insignificant.  Why don’t people understand this?  The cost of research is actually quite small in comparison with the cost of feeding the hungry.  And this Iraq war thing, its daily cost is astronomical.  The war could fund interplanetary probes for centuries.

Back to religion.  Now, I don’t have a problem with people stating their opinion about something, but saying “because that’s how God made it” or “because I say so” just don’t give any credibility to an argument.  It’s falling back on a crutch.  “I don’t understand, so it must be useless and unimportant” is another thing I tend to get from the Ray Comfort blog.

Well, I’m finished with this topic.  Back to science.



  1. I can see people being upset about money being spent to explore our Solar System while people go hungry on Earth. However, educators need to do a better job of explaining the diverse benefits of space exploration. Numerous beneficial technologies came out of NASA in the past fifty years including improved microchips, microprocessors, and Teflon.

  2. I agree. Many people have no idea how much of today’s technology is a result of the space program. The push for more advanced technology for exploring space spills over into other industries and benefit everyone.

  3. Hey, figured I’d check out your blog since you dropped by mine. Plus, though a total amateur, I’m getting pretty hooked on astronomy.

    I feel the same way about religion vs. science. People are entitled to their own beliefs. Many religious people get a sense of happiness and hope, even purpose, from their religion that they wouldn’t have otherwise. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that at all. I’m not a religious person myself, but I’ve met people who devote their life to ‘God’ and, at least they seem to claim, it makes them feel better than if they didn’t have a church to go to. The only religious types I have a problem with are those who try to force their beliefs upon me, or the ignorant type still wishing death upon homosexuals and such.

    Still, if an atheist tries to tell religious people that they’re stupid and wrong, it’s no better. That’s still imposing their belief on someone else.

    I think your (our) stance is the most appropriate. That film Contact tackled the same issue (though,
    in the book written by renowned astrophysicist Carl Sagan, which the film was based on, there were no real religious elements… that was added in from Hollywood) and seemed to reach the same conclusion.

  4. Thanks for visiting. I consider myself an amateur in astronomy, although I do have a university degree in astronomy. I just never used it to work in the astronomy field. I’m no professional.

    I think people should just leave each other alone if they have differing religious ideas. It’s a personal choice, and it is not anyone’s mission to convince other people that it’s the right choice for them.

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