Compatibility, or compartmentalization?

Thanks to vjack at Atheist Revolution for bringing this image and compelling quotation to my attention.

One friend of mine has actually (actually!) cited Francis Collins to try to convince me that I could believe his religion while still being a scientist, and then immediately clarified that even though Collins accepts evolution, he just didn’t buy it because of what the Bible says. I guess “x sometimes occurs with y” is only a convincing argument if it’s being used to show me I’m wrong…?

I’m a big fan of explaining my stances with illustrative, often extreme, analogies. Jerry Coyne’s hit upon a good one here.

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2 Comments

  1. Hi NFQ,

    Just drifted over from your interview and comment on Matt’s blog.

    Here’s my observation about the compatibility of science and religion:

    I have degenerative arthritis in my right hip. It pains me all the time. Except for rare good days, I need a cane to get from my computer to the bathroom, it hurts that much.

    I live in Jacksonville, Florida, home of the Mayo Clinic which purports to be the most scientifically advanced medical facility in the world. While my own physician is not on Mayo’s staff, he keep up with their findings and I think he’s the best doctor I’ve ever encountered.

    Yet, after reviewing possible treatment options for the pain in my hip, he concluded that the best bet for me is to live with the pain.

    As a Christian believing in divine healing, I turn to God in prayer. For years I prayed He would take away the pain in my hip.

    And guess what?

    Nothing happened.

    As I recall from my Bible reading, it seems Jesus never cured anybody from old age.

    So, when it comes to the pain in my ass, both science and religion stand in complete agreement; both reach the same compatible conclusion:

    John, live with it.

  2. Heh, John, I think you’ve definitely hit upon an aspect in which science and religion are “compatible” — if a science-based approach can’t fix a problem, a religion-based approach can’t fix it either. I’m not sure that makes a good case for adding religion to your toolbox, though! ;)

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