Scientific versus religious world views

After reading this excellent blog post about scientific versus religious world views by John Wilkins (who I know from awhile back), I couldn’t help but sharing this most excellent passage. The next time you get harangued by a religious fellow claiming that reason and faith are equally valid ways of knowing things about the world, send them this:

So, science is universal, while religion is rather local. One relies on an epistemology everyone in the world has access to; the other relies on an epistemology that barely works for that religion. To say of all religions that “each is valid” is to assert an absurdity. If each religion is separately valid, and all religions contradict each other, we are way past postmodernist silliness and out the other side into pure fiction and flights of imagination. It basically causes the very idea of knowledge to be degraded to the point that it no longer has the slightest meaning.

One Response to “Scientific versus religious world views”

  1. drinian Says:

    Religious world-views used to be considered epistemologically universal; that is to say, not only was there only one valid religion, but it pervaded the structure of the entire world (“as above, so below”). One of my favorite bits of Dante’s Inferno is when he crosses through the center of the Earth, where an eternally frozen Satan sits suspended, and must climb down to the center of gravity and then back up to continue out the other side of the Earth, on his way to Purgatory. His solar system might not have been heliocentric, but the Earth sure was round; to him, the best religious and scientific evidence available (centuries before Columbus, mind you) indicated that this was the case.

    There’s much more cognitive dissonance these days, of course.