Science is the opposite of religion

Between various debates lately where most of the arguments take the form of “we haven’t answered X question, therefore god,” this image made me smile a little extra big.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • robb

    i like. then again, i’m a scientist and might be a little biased.

  • neXus

    And that is why science is better than religion.

  • ibelieveindog

    I’m currently trying to teach my 13 year old nephew, who like me has little aptitude for science and math, that science and religion are not opposites.

    He recently said something along the lines of, “I can’t do science, therefore god,” but I think he believes that mostly because of his fundie grandparents.

    I’m trying to let him know that he doesn’t need to be a scientist, just a careful thinker.

    • cag

      science and religion are not opposites

      How about teaching us, who consider religion as less than useless and detrimental to human progress, how they are not opposite. Tell us how school districts where the boards are controlled by religious individuals (see Dover, PA) promote science. Show how Intelligent Design promotes rational thought. Show how Galileo was rewarded for his discoveries. Show how the bible promotes critical thinking.

      I’m hoping that the not in your comment was a typo.

      • BT

        “Show how Galileo was rewarded for his discoveries.”

        Yes. Rewarded with excommunication, which was only relinquished by John Paul II.

      • ibelieveindog

        Cag, did I say anywhere that I think religion is not detrimental to rational thought?

        I am not a scientist or mathematician. I have no aptitude for either. I am an atheist and I always have been, since childhood.

        Religion is detrimental to human progress, and I’ve told my nephew so.

        No public school should teach creationism or intelligent design, and I’ve told my nephew so.

        The bible is fiction, and is harmful in the hands of those who live their lives by it. I’ve told my nephew so, and I’ll tell anyone who asks, or doesn’t ask.

        Galileo was not rewarded for his discoveries. I haven’t told my nephew about it because it hasn’t come up yet.

        But don’t tell me about the kind of atheist I should be, or the kind of atheist I hope my nephew will become.

        Is there no room for us simply because we aren’t like you?

        Is there no room for us simply because we’re better with words than with numbers?

        Is there no room for me simply because I choose to ease my young nephew into atheism rather than suffocating him with it? I will always say what I think, but I’d rather not scare the young members of my family. I know what my nephew can handle. You don’t.

        And yeah, in this case, it is about me. About me and my family, and the small bit of progress I’m able to make here.

        I hope we both have the same basic idea – that teaching the younger generation is of prime importance.

        I wasn’t criticising JT in my earlier post – just making an observation from a non-scientist point of view.


        • ibelieveindog

          And now I see that I should have said “rational thinker” rather than “careful thinker.”

          cag, if I misunderstood you, I apologise.

          I stand behind everything I wrote.


          • Ibis3, denizen of a spiteful ghetto

            I think the problem lies in a misunderstanding of your assertion that science and religion are not opposites. Most of the time when people say this they mean that one can be a rational, scientific thinker and still have faith in an irrational, supernatural world. You were saying that just because someone’s not a scientist (or even merely “good at math and science”), doesn’t mean that they automatically have to believe in religion. In the sense that science opposes a religious understanding of the world, they are opposites. In the sense that a love for God increases with a decrease in a love for calculus…well, no one here is claiming that.

          • cag

            Erin, my point was that, like PZ, I cannot agree that there is any commonality between science and religion. Perhaps my sarcasm (Galileo’s “reward” etc.) was not obvious. I’m still hoping that the not was a typo. I suspect that you misunderstood and took it personally. If so, I apologize.

  • Steerpike

    Science is an all-you-can-eat buffet of knowledge, where all are welcome to sample as many dishes as they choose, at any time. Virtually every food ever eaten in the history of the world is on the menu, and the recipes for everything are available for anyone to read, copy down and take with them if they want. Not only that, but you’re welcome to come back to the kitchen, watch the chefs preparing each dish, and you can even put on an apron and jump in if you like, and you can make suggestions for improving any recipe or even whip up your own concoction if you’ve a mind to, and they’ll be happy to throw it out on the buffet with everything else, so others can taste it, critique it or spit it angrily on the floor, if it doesn’t turn out so well.

    Religion, on the other hand, is a cafeteria where you’ll eat what’s put in front of you and like it–or else. If it was good enough for your parents, and their parents, and theirs, why, it’s good enough for you. You don’t get to decide what you eat, you aren’t allowed to criticize it or make suggestions, and you certainly aren’t welcome to visit the kitchen unless you’re ready to make a lifetime commitment to learning and preparing ONLY the traditional dishes. No innovation, no improvisation and no creativity will be allowed. Oh, and visiting other restaurants, even just for an occasional bit of variety, is anything from frowned upon to a capital crime, depending on the religion.

    I know which joint I’d rather eat at for the rest of MY life…

    • Ibis3, denizen of a spiteful ghetto

      Nice. (And now I’m hungry.)

    • Mik

      Look people. Stop defining religion as Christianity. If your beef is with Christianity then state Chistianity. There are lots of religious belief systems under this sun many of which embrace much of what you claim is ‘science’. To me I believe that there is no difference between the two, that science is one of the best vehicles for understanding the world around us and it does not preclude what I believe in. In fact, if a scientist does prove something that is against my belief then I question my belief to find its flaws and then find a better way to believe. Is that not what scientists do? Hold hypotheses to be true then find ways of testing them to ensure they are true (or not).

      And another thing. Not all religions honour one or more deities. Some honour nature, the universe, life. So if you are going to be an atheist, at least do not be narrow minded.

  • Ibis3, denizen of a spiteful ghetto

    An extra ++ for the poster maker. Science represented by two women, one of them with brown skin.

    • banana

      Is it just me, or is the one in the foreground agent Scully from the X files?

  • Daniel

    Real science and real religion is in harmony.
    Consider this:

    The teachings of the Bahá’í faith are “founded upon the unity of science and religion and upon investigation of truth.” Science and religion are like the two wings of one bird: “A bird needs two wings for flight, one alone would be useless. Any religion that contradicts science or that is opposed to it, is only ignorance–for ignorance is the opposite of knowledge. Religion which consists only of rites and ceremonies of prejudice is not the truth” (‘Abduhl-Bahá, 1969 p. 129).

    “The virtues of humanity are many, but science is the most noble of them all. . . . It is a bestowal of God; it is not material; it is divine. Science is an effulgence of the Sun of Reality, the power of investigating and discovering the verities of the universe, the means by which man finds a pathway to God. Through intellectual and intelligent inquiry science is the discoverer of all things. ” (‘Abduhl-Bahá, 1982 p. 49)

    • anteprepro

      No True Religion, eh? Well, that’s (sort of) a new one.

      And I love Proof via Metaphor. “Religion and science aren’t in conflict, because I baldly assert that they are like Things that Work Together, for reasons that I will not specify”.

      the means by which man finds a pathway to God.

      Would love to see the actual evidence that science leads to understanding the Bahai God. Because…

      The Bahá’í writings describe a single, personal, inaccessible, omniscient, omnipresent, imperishable, and almighty God who is the creator of all things in the universe.[11] The existence of God and the universe is thought to be eternal, without a beginning or end.[12] Though inaccessible directly, God is nevertheless seen as conscious of creation, with a will and purpose that is expressed through messengers termed Manifestations of God.[11][13]
      Bahá’í teachings state that God is too great for humans to fully comprehend, or to create a complete and accurate image of, by themselves. Therefore, human understanding of God is achieved through his revelations via his Manifestations

      …it’s the same shit as Christianity. God removed from the natural realm who uses magical “revelations” to make himself known. If science actually led to better understanding of that entity, it would be pretty damn obvious. Otherwise, “science” is only helpful in the way they claim because it helps The Believer understand “God” by understanding its “Creation,” which, again, is stupid and wrong for the same reasons as when Christians claim that to be the case. Hell, the entire idea that the universe is a God’s creation fundamentally rests on the kind of thinking lampooned by the graphic!

      If you want a cookie because you found a religion that actually supports science in its canon, then feel free to go find the cookie jar. But you have not shown anything but a religion that is desperate to pretend that it is consistent with facts, without showing that it actually is or that it applies scientific methodology to support its doctrines.

  • Lungtok Sherab

    Until science approach to its final point we cannot decide what recites come into being reality.

    • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

      So until science knows everything we can’t know anything, THEREFORE GOD?

  • Lungtok Sherab

    Until science approach to its final point we cannot decide what religion recites come into being reality.