Religion can be said to be the most divisive and polarising subject in history, and there is no exception to this rule within the scientific community. It is important to note that the following bollocking is founded with slight gratitude towards religion; after all, we have great religious men to thank for many scientific advances. Gregor Mendel, the ‘father’ of genetics was a friar, Isaac Newton was a known theologian, and even the great Galileo was raised to be a priest. This is not to say that religion was the sole cause for their revolutionary thinking, but it’s all the credit I can give.
The morals and ethics founded from religious teachings often seem to have good intentions, but the rulebooks they’re put in are followed to different degrees, ranging from the feel-good ‘be our friends’ sects like the Anglicans and Church of England to the fundamentalist, ‘George Orwell’s 1984’ aspiring sects like the fundamentalist Muslims. I say this only to cover my tracks, and to show that I understand not all religious people share the same ideals.
Religion is anti-scientific thinking. It is as plain and simple as that. Deduction from scientific fact requires alternative hypotheses, and experiments to test these. The idea for religion is infallible, in that it can be proved neither right nor wrong. The fact that religious communities use their faith in that system as a strengthening point should act as a source of pain to any good scientific mind comparable to that of stepping on a lego piece, which is the greatest pain I have ever felt. You may not believe that fact but you cannot prove me wrong nor right from your current position, therefore I am right.
Frustrating and confusing, isn’t it?
These ancient, superfluous rules have always acted to impede scientific and revolutionary thinking, with Galileo and other such scientists being persecuted for thinking of a more logical answer to the mysteries of life. Two major aspects of scientific advance to which religion has been acting as a hurdle are stem cell research and evolutionary biology. Both of these fields are necessary for the understanding of disease, anthropology and genetics. Both of these also seem to be in contention to religious teachings, or to put it in simpler terms, ‘rules’ written by second-hand ‘witnesses’ are being taken as seriously as leading edge technological and intellectual advance.
In today’s free thinking society in which we now know the true answers to many of religion’s supposed answered questions, this impeding should not be occurring or at least taken seriously. We now know that the Universe does not revolve around the Earth, we know we are made up of cells, we know that evolution is the process by which all modern organisms have come to be.
Religion needs to go the way of alchemy. It was a necessary thought process when we were still a naive little species and helped us excel in forming societies and government, but now is no longer necessary. It acts as an overbearing parent, pleading and begging for you to stay home and not go off to university to be educated and learn the truth behind all the closed-minded and false things she’s taught you.
Don’t let this old, grouchy and retired woman suck you in with its perfectly cooked sausage rolls. As scientists we need to oppose this wish thinking and use our logic and reasoning to form answers for the mysteries of the Universe, as opposed to making up our own answers.
The linked video this time shows the typical debate between reason and religion, with the fantastic Christopher Hitchens. It gives me great joy.
I challenge you to a duel. Rebut. I dare you.