Does the use of reason to reach truth apply to religion and does it apply to science?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Mind Over Matter, Mar 11, 2011.

  1. Mind Over Matter Registered Senior Member

    Either one or the other? Both? Neither? This is way different than the cliché "truth cannot contradict truth" because I am referring to a means not the end product.
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  3. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    I'd say both.
    Science is a branch of philosophy which allows some questions as valid to scientific enquiry and other questions as invalid.
    And rightly so.

    It makes "Why does water boil at 100 degrees centigrade at sea level?", a valid scientific question, and "What should I do in life to become content?", a non-valid scientific question.

    The latter is still a valid philosophic question, but not a scientific one.

    Science deals with specific questions about the material world.
    It seeks to find experiments which will find definite answers to those questions.
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  5. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    With regards to "truth", I'm more inclined to think that science has discovered some truths (if not "the Truth") than I am to think that religion has.

    Assuming that 'reason' refers to the use of inference, both religion and science obviously produce inferential arguments for many different conclusions.

    Scientific and theological inference seem to differ most dramatically in what each takes to be the premises of its arguments.
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  7. IceLight020 Registered Senior Member

    The irony is, truth has been contradicted by another truth time and time again. We say truth is set in stone. Do you know of any "truth" that EVERYONE believes? For if truth was actually truth, no one would go against it right?
  8. Faure Registered Senior Member

    It definitely applies to science.

    Religion is trickier. Canonical Western religions believe that some theological truths can be arrived at through reason, some through revelation alone. Non-Western and heterodox Western religions may be different, I'm not sure.

    Has reason established any truths of religion? I don't think so, but people have been trying. Has reason established any truths of science? We don't know. However, we do know that science has reached much greater approximations of the truth than religion.


    That doesn't follow at all because, of course, humans are fallible.
  9. BeHereNow Registered Senior Member

    With regard to 'reason', I will take that to mean the verificiation theory as developed by Logical Positivism, used by science and other philosophies.

    [Add: I will not disagree with your use of reason, except that in the context of the OP it seems to me something else is meant.]

    That is the primary tool of science, and for religion, only a secondary tool.
    Science will also use the nonrational process of intution, and I suppose at times, as a starting point only, faith.
    Some individuals would say Science uses reason only, and I would agree that applies to some scientists, but not to Science as a whole.

    As you say, it depends on premises, belief systems.

    Science seeks one type of truth, religion another.

    The primary Truth that religion seeks, is not, from all appearences, available to science. That may change in the distant future.

    What I find to be more important is that Philosophy has determined more
    truth than Science. Science is young, Philosophy ancient, so this should not be a surprise.
    Some people are more concerned with what they consider quality and would say Science does better.
    Some of us would disagree.
    Philosophy gave birth to Science.

    But this thread is about Religion, and not Philosophy.
    'Reason', is a small part of Religion.
    'Reason', is not meant to be used to find the Truths that Religion wants.
    "Reason' is only meant to supportive of Faith, Sacred Writings, and Intuition, the primary tools of Religion.

    There seem to be artistic truths, in regards to the human mind, and all reason can do is explain, it cannot reach it.
    Computers can mimic it, but the human mind, without reason, creates art that pleases.

    Reason satisifies many needs, and Science is totally dependent on it.
    Truths that are not arrived at by the verification theory (reason), cannot be validated by science.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2011
  10. Arkonos Registered Senior Member

    To be perfectly honest, in my opinion, I used perfect logic to lead myself into becoming an atheist and/or anti-theist and so I would argue that logic to find truth does not apply wholly to religion.
  11. SciWriter Valued Senior Member

    True, and if you look to some of the recent religious-type threads, there are several logic/science disproofs, among them that a Being cannot be the First since it cannot be fundamental in the fun of da mental, and that the basis of all must have been eternal, thus no creation and no Creator. Score 2:0.
  12. Arkonos Registered Senior Member

    That's why I find Deism to be logically sound but also ridiculous.
  13. SciWriter Valued Senior Member

    Yes, and those arguments cut out both the Deity and the Theity.

    There are also good arguments against that only apply to a Theity but they are now not even needed.
  14. BeHereNow Registered Senior Member

    As a Deist, I find Atheism to be logicall sound, but irrelevant.
  15. Arkonos Registered Senior Member

    I feel the same for Deism. The realisation that I found Deism to be logically sound was overshadowed by my belief that for a God to be a First Cause any reasoning to support that could also be used to support the universe being in itself a First Cause.
  16. SciWriter Valued Senior Member

    Itty-bitty electron(-)/positron(+) pair production and photons from the ZPE… (even nothing)

    Composite complexity comes way later; 14 billion years later for our own.

    Protons—>Stars—>lighter atomic elements—>Star supernovae—>heavier atomic elements—>molecules—>planets—>bacteria—>cells—>life—>evolution—>higher brains—>consciousness.

    The religious look in the complete wrong direction, but I'm not sure that they really look, but to wishes.
  17. Arkonos Registered Senior Member


    The title of the article is: "Poll finds US atheists know more about religion than believers"

    I have recently met a girl who doesn't know what the theory of evolution is, doesn't know what the big bang theory is and yet blatantly denies the validity of them both without being able to justify why. She is a Christian, if you were wondering.

    I went to a trivia night with this girl, which was held at a Christian high school. As you can imagine there were questions asked about their faith and the Bible. What was funny was that I answered all of the Bible questions because they didn't know the answers. Point being that the only Atheist at the table knew more about the Bible than the 5 Christians that believe the tripe written within.
  18. SciWriter Valued Senior Member

    Well, Arkonos, maybe she can watch the 'Big Bang' TV show, or at least Carl Sagan's 'Cosmos'.

    Opposites are the key to existence, and perhaps to some relationships at first, but, if they are too much opposed, then annihilation, such as with matter and anti-matter.
  19. Arkonos Registered Senior Member

    We don't talk about religion anymore lol.

    Also, I don't think, despite the simple way he explains complex ideas, she would understand anything Carl Sagan has to say, nor would she find any of it relevant.
  20. BeHereNow Registered Senior Member

    Neither Atheism nor Theism solve the problem of first causes, according to the Atheistic belief system.
    I myself find it to be inconsequencial.

    It seems some Atheists say it must be one way, based on their theory of verification, and yet, no way to scientifically 'prove' or disaprove what they believe, so their verification theory fails to subtantiate their claims.

    It seems to me the reasonable Atheistic view should be that there exists an infinitely arising, formation, of various universes.
    A 'cosmos' with no beginning, and no end.
    Wait, no way to verify or falisify that belief either.

    Is there a reasonable, rational, Atheistic view of first causes?
  21. Saquist Banned Banned

    I think the real question is WHOM does it apply to.
  22. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I'm not in a position to comment on traditional Chinese religious epistemology.

    Traditional Indian epistemology recognizes a number of valid paths to knowledge, called 'pramanas'. These include things like scripture, testimony, logical inference and sensory experience. Different Indian philosophical schools often differed, at least in part, depending on which pramanas they recognized as valid.

    But the general Indian tendency was to place the most emphasis on personal experience. The idea was that somebody could read about something and think about it all day, but they can't fully know it until they actually experience it for themselves. That's why, unlike roughly contemporary Greek philosophy, Indian philosophy is so often associated with various meditatitve disciplines. These were supposed to put individuals into states of consciousness where the desired experience of the fundamental nature of reality would occur.

    Even the supposedly-revealed Hindu scriptures are described as 'sruti' (directly heard) from the ancient 'rishis' (sages) who tradition says actually had the direct experiences.

    Judeo-Christian-Islamic ideas of religious revelation aren't all that dissimilar, in a way. I guess that they involve scripture writers' unique religious experiences as well. Maybe the biggest difference is that in the West these were interprested as being entirely God's initiative. Revelations could be and typically were bestowed upon average sorts of people with no special preparation, apart from a necessary faith perhaps.

    In India, there was the idea that people could work up to and ultimately induce revelatory experiences by following the proper spiritual disciplines. In the Semitic religions, these experiences were thought to be so unique and so top-down that far less tradition developed around bottom-up ways of generating them.

    So I guess that we can say that the relationship between religion and reason in India is kind of complex.

    In a way Indian religious philosophy is more scientific than Western religious thought, taking the form of a carefully conducted transcendental religious empiricism. But it also appears slightly anti-intellectual when it's compared to the Greek philosophical tradition because it deemphasizes the central role of reasoning and logical inference. In time, it became a strong sort of scripturally-based traditionalism, as the idea took hold that no contemporary could ever hope to match the peerless insights of the ancient rishis who composed the revealed writings. But the old model still persists in India of gurus and disciples, of a determined contemplative search for personal transcendental experience.
  23. SciWriter Valued Senior Member

    The eternal, infinite, prime mover of first cause can only be ‘nothing’, which is obviously unstable, it being the simplest ‘state’, and cannot ever be a true vacuum, as seen in the quantum vacuum fluctuations that emit a balance of opposites of charge polarity and matter/anitmatter, because there is literally nothing to make the basics of.

    No way around it: nothing else to make the basics of. Nothing.

    Since this has always and will be happening, one could nearly still say that the basics were around forever. They just were not the exact same original material, but material there always was.

    Nothing else can qualify as the prime mover, for composite complexity arrives way later on, much less an ultimate complexity.

    We always knew that the answer had to be simple, way down there, even as boring as it is, yet, the answer still allows us to now better comprehend all that is. Suddenly, we have become alert to the balances of opposites in nature that were already noted all about in physics.

    The eternal basis, whichever of the only two available on chooses, means that there was never any creation of that causeless basis, thus, no Creator.

    Furthermore, Beings cannot be fundamental and first, for they are systems of planning, knowing, and creating, etc., just like we are, Johnny-come-latelys.

    Look to the future, not the past, for higher minds.

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