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The difference between science and religion

In this post ron makes some good points about the difference between science and religion. I mostly agree with his writing and really enjoyed the reading. But I have some additional thoughts which are going around in my head a long time. First I think the term religion needs some clarification. I suspect that religion and science share the same origin, the search for truth. But religion is metaphorical looking inside and science is the search outside. While religion explores the conditio humana, the humanity in itself, does science ignoring this bias and searchs for objectivity. Therefore science will never be capable to tell you, what to do. Science cannot give you some guidence in the meaning of a personal matter. Science is not interested in you as a person. But religion is. It's more then social, it's entirely personal.

But then there are churches. And I think, contrary to what has been widely claimed, churches and religion are very different. A true believer is a seeker, a scientist of the soul. It has open questions, has doubts and evolves. Most churches are afraid of people with doubts and dissenting opinions. A church tries to establish a dogma, tries to be the only legitimate authority. A church is afraid of other churches and fight them. The reward for accepting the dogma is the promise of salvation. It's a simple deal. But most people are confused about the difference between a church and religion. In fact they can't see a difference. We are all somewhat brainwashed in this respect.

So science and religion have something in common. But science and churches are very contrary. Science and religion (in the sense described above) are a permanent revolution. Everything is changing and fragile. But churches defend changes. They try to keep the status quo. I assume that ron talks about churches. And in my opinion the main difference between science and churches is not the way how they work. It is the task in our society which they perform. A dogma exerts a stabilising effect on a community. It provides a clear guideline and covers important social aspects in our life. It creates trust and confidence and provides meaning. These are valuable aspects in a society. But as I said it has it's price. With a dominant dogma (of a church or cult) cultural, social and technological development is stalled.

It seems to me, that the gap is not been caused by different ways to reason or to prove something. Also theologians apply logical conclusion dependend from there beliefs. And even a mathematician has to believe in the deepest axioms in some way. Indeed we need a starting point to think. The question is, what is our purpose? To answer this question is your personal responsibility. No one can make this decision for you. Neither a church, a religion, the sciences nor your parents. Or in Rons words, this is the burden of being human.

Recently was a big buzz about the threats of artificial intelligence. The danger is that we lost control over superintelligent machines in the near future. And these machines do not have to do anything else than to destroy mankind. Maybe. But what does superintelligent mean? If these machines have free will, they have a choice, just as we humans. Otherwise there must be some level of control or influence. Or how could a thinking machine be more dangerous then a nuclear bomb in the wrong hands? On some level it seems very promising to see more smartness on this planet.


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