A scientific perspective

Doesn’t religion divide people and cause violence? Aren’t more people killed in the name of religion than for any other reason? Identifying as a Christian sometimes means getting lumped with every religious whacko, sociopath, and nut job.

ScienceSo, for perspective, I made a list of scientific facts that many scientists would like to distance themselves from. I expect angry emails.


— Scientists developed chemical and biological weapons so scientists are humanity-haters.
— Relativity is at odds with quantum mechanics so science is a bunch of crap.
— Scientists design factories that pollute our planet so scientists hate the planet.
— Information in new scientific textbooks contradicts information found in older scientific textbooks, which is proof that scientists teach things that are not true.
— Scientists invented thalidomide. If you are under 40, google it and be horrified by science.
— Sometimes science teachers molested their students so all science teachers are bad.
— A medical journal (The Lancet) published a link between autism and vaccines so all medical journals are junk science.
— A scientist once told me my answer was wrong and his answer was right. But who was he to judge? What a jerk.
— Scientists created enough nuclear weapons to destroy every human on the planet so scientists must want to kill us all.
This Sunday at LCC we’re getting some perspective on faith and violence. Saints, sinners, and scientists are welcome.

2 Comments On “A scientific perspective”

  1. So as a scientist and a new friend of Matt i thought I would make a reply. So my first impression is that this is a very inadequate answer to a very huge question. Fortunately, I know matt is pro-scientist because otherwise his reply could be immediately misunderstood, as I have heard everyone of these leveled at scientists as deliberate accusations at one time or another. Unfortunately, even in this day and age science is not held in universal esteem, and it can be very dangerous to be a scientist in many circumstances. My next instinct as a scientist I want to go in and correct all the factual answers. Most of these however would detract from a very significant discussion so I will skip them. The question is in many ways too big. How far back do you go? Do you apologize for everything that the catholics did? Marcioneans? or just your own denomination? If this is sounding ridiculous that is intentional. However, as an outsider I think there are a few key traits which cause Christians the most friction. This is where one of the factual errors in the blog post becomes significant. It is this. There is no such article on Autism published in the Lancet. I can say this with absolute certainty despite the plethora of articles on autism and vaccines, and despite the fact that I haven’t remotely read all of the articles in the Lancet. I can say it with absolute certainly because I am familiar with that particular article. It was retroactively redacted from the journal. There is now a hole in the journal where that article once was. All links and citations to it our now invalidated. It can no longer be downloaded referenced or even read from the journal. (I even think it is supposed to be physically cut out from the print editions but who knows). Now of course there are anti vaccine groups who peddle this article so yes you can still read it, and of course technically it was published. But here is the point. It is not enough for a scientist to say that was wrong we’re sorry. We have to fight against it at every occasion, not just against it but everything else that is also wrong whether merely incorrect. That is the goal anyway the reality is more complicated of course but you only get credit for new things so its a pretty strong driver. Now there is a tendency among many Christians (tried to hold off generalizations for as long as possible) after having committed a sin and gone to their priest or god and gotten absolution to say “Okay, I am done here.”, gets into the whole idea of “Born again”, after atonement you are supposed to be “washed clean”. So from an outsider this can be more than a little infuriating. Even in cases where there may have been some form of actual atonement. And this is true both for the individual and an organization. Its particularly problematic in two cases. First when the individual is in a new situation where they can no longer commit that actual sin. And second where they are still benefiting from the harm that they (or their ancestors) caused. There is a particularly notorious example of the first involving a person spending a life sentence in jail. The second however I think is the more important case. It is the cause of the jewish principle of Tzedukah which has been widely misunderstood as merely charity. As I sign off, I acknowledge the inadequacy of my own answer, but hopefully it will provide food for thought.

    • Andrew

      I’m just a random passerby on this site but felt lead to reply.

      I think science is man trying to figure out how God created things and made them work. Since we are fallible and not all knowing like God is we make mistakes along the way or just don’t fully understand what we are studying, which requires adjustments or rethinking our processes. I think that is why God created such a diverse planet and universe. To keep us intrigued and in awe of His Majesty.

      As far as the rest of your reply, it sounds like you are distracted by all the religion that is out there. I must say it turned me off for so many years too. But religion is all the add-ons that man has attached to Gods plan and His words, not what God has said or done. A true understanding of His redemptive plan requires study of the Scriptures.

      The first four words of the Bible are :In the beginning God…”. I find most, even Christians, have a hard time admitting that we have a Creator and that he is actively managing his creation. Without acknowledging this we never open the door to let God in. But we ever do, our lives will change forever and for the good.

      Really it’s a great and simple plan by God.
      1) We acknowledge him as or Creator and give him all the credit for it. (praise, worship, etc)
      2)Realize we rebel against his design for us (sin)
      3)Realize there is a payment to be made for our rebellion (blood atonement)
      4)Profess and accept Christ who willingly gave his life as your atonement

      That’s the core of the plan. So many find that it just seems too easy or simple and want to add to it. What? Salvation is a free gift? yes it is. We just have to accept it. It is by the grace of God that we have been saved. Once you profess to accept Christ as your redemptive sacrifice you have been “marked” as a child of God and have salvation/eternal life in the Kingdom of God. The transformation to being more Christlike can be immediate and profound, or like with most it happens over your lifetime. Many think that we stop sinning immediately after professing Christ, but that’s not the norm. It’s not our will that changes us or makes us want to do what we see as good. It is a transformation on the inside over time by the Holy Spirit. God makes His will our will. He designed us and knows how to bring us joy, as well as know what will develop us to be ready for our eternal life in Heaven.

      The changing point in my life and faith was when I realized that I can’t do Gods work by my will alone. If we put Him first, studying his Words, thanking Him for all our blessings, and giving Him the glory, honor and praise, He will give us the desire to do His will. If you want more wisdom, pray for it. More knowledge, pray for it. You want unshakable faith? pray for it. God will always honor requests that will bring him Glory.

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