Science & Religion: Are They Really At Odds? (Pt. 3)

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Belief and Knowledge:

Cognitive scientists have been attempting to understand and explain this phenomenon for the past century, if not longer. It is simply a matter of fact that we rarely question the scientific studies that we come across.

This does not mean that we should be skeptical of all objective scientific knowledge.

Most do not understand this important distinction and accept claims readily even when they are obviously false. If we are to accept the claim of Nazis, for example, that Jews are inferior to the Aryan race, then it would matter what evidence is presented in support of that claim. And even then, if it was found that certain races hold higher Intellectual prowess over others, it would still not suggest that one race is superior to another.

Confirmation Bias:

French cognitive scientists Dan Sperber and Hugo Mercier attempt to explain why this is the case and published their findings in their widely cited study, Why Do Humans Reason? They conclude that our reasoning faculties evolved to provide support for views we already hold and not to be objective about every piece of knowledge we come across.

  • (1) All organisms must reproduce.
  • (2) All organisms exhibit hereditary variations.
  • (3) Hereditary variations differ in their effect on reproduction.
  • Therefore, variations with favourable effects on reproduction will succeed, those with unfavourable effects will fail, and organisms will change.

“Truly it can be said that not only biology but medicine would be impossible to understand without the theory of evolution” (133).

It is clear from the literature that scientists can hold religious belief and also contribute to their respective scientific fields.


  • Science and Religion are not at odds with one another.
  • The Scientific method is, however, different from belief.
  • Belief is necessary for communicating in today’s world and for obtaining knowledge. Without believing authorities in their field we would have to doubt almost every piece of objective knowledge we come across (including blue whales being the largest mammals on earth).
  • Skepticism towards belief is still prevalent as we have discussed above the scientific method has thus far been gaining traction and publicity among Religious thinkers as well.
  • Thus, it would not be surprising to see superstitious beliefs slowly dismantled as more Christians encounter evidence on a daily basis, decide to abandon their bias and make sure that they don’t base their conclusions on insufficient evidence.

Before you go…

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Collins, Francis S., and Jonathan Davis. The Language of God: a Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief. Howes — Clipper, 2008.



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Jakub Ferencik

Jakub Ferencik


Author of “Up in the Air” & “Beyond Reason” available on AMAZON | MA McGill Uni | Research assistant for EUROPEUM Prague | 500+ blog posts with 1+ mil. views