Religion and Science: Revelation, Disability and Logical Expression

2 04 2008

Can you hear that drumbeat? — religion is science, and science is religion.
Schooling and education must teach this truth or perish from the earth.

What does that actually mean, though?
And why am I asking?

Favorite Daughter drew a stranger’s comment about her math disability revelation — yes, revelation is a religious word, not scientific, if we’re compartmentalizing concepts — purporting to be from a young “miss” just like her (but in tone and message more like the male trolls that female blogging tends to attract.)

Btw, for World Autism Day CNN has just spent the whole morning on current science, belief and family experiences with autism. How much respect from either science or religion would this comment’s POV deserve, if it proclaimed autism non-existent, just some kind of bogus excuse for bad parenting or stupid kids?

The comment so oddly seems to rely on personal belief as objective science, the better to disprove the science of Favorite Daughter’s belief IN science. Very strange. It was a know-it-all tone preaching false school gospel, chapter and verse, not the comment of a true seeker in either belief OR science.

Does it immutably equate religion and science then, the commutative correctly used as simple, logically coherent mathematical expression? Sure seems to.

So, are they being expressed academically as equally true? Or perhaps the opposite, equally subjective, equally true and real yet created by the supernatural, “given” yet equally unproven and unprovable?

I hadn’t thought much about it until now but I’ve just had an epiphany (yes, that’s more religious terminology but my version of academic freedom is using the words that come closest to capturing the truth of what I really mean, rather than twisting all the words and meaning around in some inner-circle sophist code.)

It doesn’t equate religion and science at all, it’s not simple mathematical logic. It’s a hidden fallacy, which if I knew more formal logic I would name for you — “the undefined middle” perhaps? (I never studied formal logic yet I do believe in it and confidently accept it as “true” and objectively demonstrable.)

Consider — one college student already so certain of his/her own beliefs as to pronounce science itself suspect and likely wrong, simply because it leads another college student like FavD to beliefs about herself at odds with the commenter’s personal beliefs, all of which are of course scientific! Is that religion or science, or one confused as the other, an unholy amalgam, maybe neither one and if not, then what IS it?

Whatever it is besides trolling, it seemed designed to pronounce her weak and weak-minded — imposing human certainty by superior force of will, in the quest to dominate both belief and science with immutable human certainty. Whether the imposed certainty is right or wrong doesn’t matter, has little or “no-no” meaning, not when the very definition of “right” and “true” just means whatever convicted dominionists can impose, as either science or religion.

Back to the question:
“There are political voices claiming religion is science, and science is religion.
What does that really mean though? ”

In common conversation these days, it means “our” religion is real and true, immutable scientific fact, created and given by our immutable god.

“Your” science is just irrational belief, a false religion no better than all those untrue, unscientific religions that don’t accept the scientific FACTS of “our” one true religion.

The only science I know as fact and believe to be true, in teaching that convoluted belief as science education, is political science.

p.s. – Favorite Daughter is now minoring in religion, power of story studies for which she has discovered enormous personal aptitude and interest, absent struggle much less disability. I wonder what this same commenter would pronounce her weak and wrong about, in that collegiate discipline, and with what authority other than (his or her) personal opinion?



9 responses

2 04 2008

Incisive Thinking Parent mind Paul D. offers this in response and gave permission for us to play with it here:

Well, if you want to use mathematical analogies … Science and religion are often considered to be orthogonal – they are at right angles to each
other, and their projection on each other is zero – in other words,
moving along one axis gets you nowhere on the other.

But I’ve been
reading a popular book on the Riemann hypothesis, so it’s natural to
wonder what happens if you regard religion and science as forming a
coordinate system for complex numbers (“imaginary” numbers), with people
forming the points in this plane. In this case, there’s a purely
scientific (“real”) part and a purely religious (“imaginary”) part to

For some people, the religious part is zero, which puts them
entirely on the scientific axis. For others, the scientific part is
zero, which puts them entirely on the religious axis. But most people
require both parts to describe their position (neat, huh?), and travel
along one axis will involve travel along the other (unless the travel is
parallel to one of the axes).

Another implication is that if we violate the condition of
orthogonality, so that the angle between the religious and scientific
axis becomes less than 90°, we obtain a situation where any point
(individuals, in our metaphor) inevitably has both a religious and a
scientific part, and movement always involves a shift in both, which
might model a situation where religion is forced on science, or vice versa.

I leave it as an exercise for the reader to consider generalisation of
this metaphor to the whole plane.

2 04 2008
Life On The Planet

I concur. Crankypants writes like a guy.

2 04 2008

LOL – thanks for that, LOTP!

2 04 2008
Crimson Wife

The mathematics analogy doesn’t work because there is no controversy over whether “imaginary” numbers exist. You don’t have a very vocal group of people insisting that only numbers that exist are real numbers and calling those who disagree with them on that point “delusional”…

2 04 2008

Not sure how to approach that — since I’ve never heard any controversy over the supernatural being imaginary, or real in the imagination, shall we say?

Seems to me the difficulty or dispute, occurs only defining in scientific terms what is at odds with science, the existence of which would be defined along the other axis.

2 04 2008

Speaking of what is real, versus what’s “imaginary” and whether the twain shall meet —
“Doomsday Cult Members Emerge From Russian Cave”

2 04 2008
27 04 2008
Hands Off the Hands-On in School Math?? « Cocking A Snook!

[…] learn more about how we the American people obsess over — and subsequently overvalue — school math instruction and test performance, as a scientifically defensible merit ranking mechanism equally applicable between individual […]

27 04 2008

Crimson Wife — there’s that math controversy for you! 😉

Readers might want to look back here, at the post and comments, to see why this public twisting of “truth” in service of self-promotional lies (sold as free speech or science or divine writ, for our own good or just plain entitlement by strength or positional fortune) applies not just to all education issues and school subjects — don’t get me started on the self-serving sophistry of calling anti-evolution conspiracy theorists anything akin to “academic freedom protection”! — but also to everything in society, including the current presidential candidates for example: think about Hillary Clinton, say, who fits everything Giroux sounds the alarm about in our collapsing culture.

The mentality of the marketplace is one that privileges self-promotion over the democratic concern with the well-being of the whole. . .

Self-interest eclipses social relationships, and self-sufficiency replaces social interdependence. Freedom in the market-dominated society becomes defined as the capacity to choose among a proliferation of goods rather than the opportunity to shape, with our fellow human beings, the world we wish to live in.

. . .Ultimately in this kind of world it is not just goods and services that are up for sale: it is ourselves who are more and more on the auction block, as we learn how to manipulate perceptions and sell ourselves to others.”

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