Not Sure This Explains Anything ?

Mildly interesting piece on the God vs Science topic from Science Daily (via Mary Hrovat). I say mildly interesting, because what is interesting is neither the research, nor the conclusion, but the fact that it really answers nothing.

Sounds like serious, controlled, empirical science (from the Universities of Illinois and Chicago, published as Science and God: An automatic opposition between ultimate explanations, by Jesse Preston and Nicholas Epley. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Volume 45, Issue 1, January 2009, Pages 238-241), though I can’t tell enough about the logic of what the subliminal messaging in the experimental procedure has to do with it, but the conclusion seems 100% common sense:

“What is really intriguing is that the larger effect happens on the opposite belief,” she said. “When God isn’t being used to explain much, people have a positive attitude toward science. But when God is being used to account for many events – especially the things that they list, which are life, the universe, free will, these big questions – then somehow science loses its value.”

“On the other hand, people may have a generally positive view of science until it fails to explain the important questions. Then belief in God may be boosted to fill in the gap,” she said.

ie hardly intriguing.  However, whilst this final implication also seems true, it remains hung up on the horns of its own dilemma:

The most obvious implication of the research is that “to be compatible, science and religion need to stick to their own territories, their own explanatory space,” Preston said. “However, religion and science have never been able to do that, so to me this suggests that the debate is going to go on. It’s never going to be settled.”

Like, how to “divide” space into distinctly relevant territories without some world model (ontology, epistemology or metaphysics if you prefer) to start with, something more fundamental than either science or god. This paradoxical circularity rings true for me of course.

(The Chicago connection is intriguing again … what is it about Chicago ?)

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