“Trouble arises when either science or religion claims universal jurisdiction”

“Trouble arises when either science or religion claims universal jurisdiction” August 10, 2019

 

Jupiter, as seen by the Hubble telescope
A Hubble Space Telescope image of the planet Jupiter
(National Aeronautics and Space Administration public domain photograph)

 

“Optimistic People Shown to Sleep Better and Longer”

 

No wonder that I’m sleeping better and better these days!

 

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Here’s a trio of rather jovial science stories:

 

“Jupiter’s Great Red Spot Is Behaving Strangely: For a time, it looked as though the planet’s defining feature might be on the verge of extinction.”

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And now a bit more astronomical news:

 

“Astronomers uncover ‘invisible’ massive ancient galaxies”

 

“Giant, active galaxies from the early universe may have finally been found: The behemoths date to within 2 billion years after the Big Bang”

 

“Telescope captures cosmic Seagull Nebula in flight”

 

“A 3-D map of stars reveals the Milky Way’s warped shape: Scientists used thousands of stars called Cepheids to trace the galaxy’s structure”

 

“Stars may keep spinning fast, long into old age: The idea that older stars continually slow their rotation may be wrong”

 

“Exploding stars scattered traces of iron over Antarctic snow: Unlike previous similar detections, the interstellar material dribbled down on Earth recently”

 

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But perhaps it’s time to come back down to earth a bit:

 

“Earth’s roaming magnetic poles create longer periods of instability, study says”

 

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I offer here a more complete version of a quotation from the eminent Anglo-American mathematician and mathematical physicist Freeman Dyson, of the Institute for Advance Study at Princeton, than I gave the other day:

 

Science and religion are two windows that people look through, trying to understand the big universe outside, trying to understand why we are here.  The two windows give different views, but they look out at the same universe.  Both views are one-sided, neither is complete.  Both leave out essential features of the real world.  And both are worthy of respect. . . .   Trouble arises when either science or religion claims universal jurisdiction, when either religious dogma or scientific dogma claims to be infallible.  Religious creationists and scientific materialists are equally dogmatic and insensitive.  By their arrogance they bring both science and religion into disrepute.  The media exaggerate their numbers and importance.  The media rarely mention the fact that the great majority of religious people belong to moderate denominations that treat science with respect, or the fact that the great majority of scientists treat religion with respect so long as religion does not claim jurisdiction over scientific questions.

 

 


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