Earlier this week Bill Nye, the "Science Guy", debated Ken Ham, founder of the creationism museum in Kentucky, and it was billed as "Science vs the Bible", among other things. I watched it, and participated in a Twitter discussion for a short time during it, and then moved over to a Facebook discussion among a friend and others who are all Atheist, as far as I can tell. When the debate was over, I was left with a few thoughts.
The topic for this debate wasn't really "Science vs the Bible", it was really "Evolution vs Creation," but it struck me part way through listening and watching Ham repeatedly bring up the "word of an infallible god" as direct evidence for questions posed by Nye. These two parties, and I'm guessing their respective colleagues as well, are trying to answer completely different, fundamental questions when they look out into the world. It's this basic goof that cements firmly within my mind that there is no room for any gods in scientific discovery, not even mine.
Scientists looking into the origins of the universe ask the same question as scientists looking into animal mating habits, and explaining light, and gravity. "Why?" (or "why not?", but usually "why?"). The process of scientific discovery in any field begs this basic question, and then the follow up of "how?". The question that scientists don't bother with is "who?" because the answer is irrelevant to the discovery...unless credit or grant money are involved.
Creationists, like Ken Ham, don't ask these questions because they truly believe that since they already know "who?", they don't need to ask "why?" or "how?". I personally feel that the Bible doesn't really satisfactorily answer "who?" given the history and nature of the work(s), but when Pat Robertson and I agree that people make a joke of their own beliefs by ignoring the fossil record in order to adhere to a medieval Biblical timeline of existence equaling roughly six thousand years, then that should be a clue for you.
I honestly believe that scientific discovery and religious ideology don't mix, but that one cannot disprove the validity of the other, at least not unless your dogma overreaches. I want to know about dark matter, and time, and space, and having those answers will not in the least affect my beliefs. I think when religion has attempted to ingrain itself into so much of civilization, even where it truly doesn't belong, then it boxes itself into having to defend contradictory and even obviously wrong conclusions based upon that overreaching dogma.
In my opinion, religion, faith, and belief should never be tools used to destroy others, or influence general society which invariably has members who don't subscribe to your religion, faith, or beliefs. To do so only ever results in weakening the whole system, of which we're all a part, dependent and interconnected, in more ways than we can possibly know. As I put it on my Facebook page: