Darwinism, Judaism and the clash between science and religion (2022)

(September 5, 2019 / JNS) Yale University professor of computer science David Gelernter has renounced his previous belief in Darwinian evolution.

Writing that he was sad to give up on “a brilliant and beautiful scientific theory,” he said he had concluded that it couldn’t explain the big picture—not the fine-tuning of existing species, but the emergence of new ones.

Whether or not his argument is well-founded is a discussion for another time. The point here is that it’s unsayable by anyone who isn’t prepared to risk professional and social suicide.

Darwinism, said Gelernter, had passed beyond a scientific argument. Although his Yale colleagues had treated him in a courteous and collegiate manner, people took their life in their hands to question Darwinian evolution.

“They will destroy you if you challenge it,” he said. There was nothing approaching free speech on this topic. “It’s a sort of bitter, fundamental, angry, outraged, violent rejection, which comes nowhere near scientific or intellectual discussion.”

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Gelernter’s conclusions about Darwinism have derived principally from his analysis of the statistical probability of the evolution of new species. Yet anyone who queries Darwinism is immediately labeled “anti-science” and accused of being a religious nut.

Indeed, the pushback against Gelernter’s apostasy has included the observation that he is a religious Jew. Apparently, the only reason he could possibly have come to this “denialist” conclusion, says one pro-evolution website, is that he views science through “Old Testament goggles.”

In fact, a belief that’s unchallengeable has the characteristic of religious faith. That’s why Gelernter calls Darwinism a religion.

There are plenty of other unsayables in our thought-policed society. Human-made global warming, for example, is considered beyond challenge because the science of that theory is said to be “settled.” This is in fact anti-science dogma because nothing is ever settled in science, which is always open to fresh challenges.

So how come our scientific age promotes anti-science ideas more akin to religious doctrine and calls them science?

Our era is supposedly devoted to promoting individual freedom, tolerance and an end to prejudice. So why are so many views being silenced? Why has debate been so widely replaced by hateful insult? And how come this has been accompanied by an upsurge in anti-Semitism, often among precisely the same subscribers to the liberal anti-racist “woke” agenda?

There may be a connection here that is generally overlooked. And it involves the Jews.

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At the core of all this moral and intellectual confusion lies an onslaught against the core principles of Western civilization on the grounds that these are innately exclusive, prejudicial and oppressive.

That’s because they are rooted in biblical values that are held to be cruel, obscurantist and inimical to reason, enlightenment and generosity of spirit.

By contrast, the secular agenda is believed to stand for all good things associated with modernity, such as kindness, rationality and progress.

The West tells itself that modernity sprang from a repudiation of religion in the 17th-century Enlightenment.

In fact, as a new book points out, Christianity remains at the core of contemporary Western thinking even among those who disdain it. Dominion, by the British historian Tom Holland, is a magisterial analysis of the way in which Christian values have shaped the West and still do so even in the most unlikely places.

His book is not merely a fascinating account of the extraordinary reach and persistence of Christianity, which has evolved and adapted down through the generations and across societies. He also argues that Christian values, which have sometimes led to slavery, empire and war, nevertheless lie at the core of what makes the West civilized and good.

This has startled people for whom it is axiomatic that only secularism produces goodness while religion produces only bad stuff. But Holland points out that even attacks by secular liberals on Christian thinking are motivated by Christian values of tolerance and fairness.

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Of course, there’s an elephant in this particular room. For although these core Western principles were introduced and spread by Christianity, their origin lay in the Hebrew Bible.

Holland pays due regard to the Jewish foundations of Christianity and also to the terrible way Christianity has behaved in the past towards the Jews.

But what so many overlook is that moral principles assumed to have been invented by Christianity, such as compassion, fairness, looking after the poor or putting others first, were all introduced to the world by the Hebrew Bible.

It is Judaism’s Mosaic code that gave the West its conscience and the roots of its civilization by putting chains on people’s selfish appetites. And strikingly, every contemporary ideology that aims to undermine or transform the West is based on opposition to Jewish religious beliefs, Jewish moral codes or the Jewish homeland in Israel.

Deep green environmentalism, for example, wants to knock human beings off their pedestal in Genesis as the pinnacle of creation; sexual lifestyle choice negates Judaism’s moral codes; scientific materialism repudiates belief in the Divine creator of the world; anti-Zionism denies the Jews’ right to their own homeland; and liberal universalism is an innate challenge to Judaism which, as a stubbornly and uniquely distinct set of beliefs, always stands in the way of any universalizing ideology.

Much of this secular onslaught goes back to the central Enlightenment idea of a world based on reason, which French Enlightenment thinkers in particular perceived to be in opposition to religion.

But the West’s concept of reason actually comes from the Hebrew Bible. Ideas such as an orderly and rational universe structured on a linear concept of time were revolutionary concepts introduced in the book of Genesis.

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These ideas were essential to the development of Western science. Early scientists believed that natural laws necessarily presupposed a law-giver. As Galileo Galilei said: “The laws of nature are written by the hand of God in the language of mathematics.”

The opposition between religion and science that is assumed to be fundamental by secular liberals is in fact foreign to Judaism. With so much of the Hebrew Bible interpreted over the centuries as allegory or metaphor, Judaism has never seen science as a threat.

The 12th-century Jewish sage Maimonides was the great exemplar of the belief that science and religion were complementary. He wrote that conflict between science and the Bible arose from either a lack of scientific knowledge or a defective understanding of the Bible.

Without the Hebrew Bible, there would have been no Western rationality or principles such as justice or compassion. But secularism holds that the rule of reason divorced from biblical religion would banish bad things like prejudice or war from the world and the human heart.

Impossible utopianism like this invariably results in oppression. So it proved with medieval apocalyptic Christianity, the French Revolution, communism and fascism; and so it is proving today with the cultural totalitarianism of the left.

Like all utopians, the left believe their ideas are unchallengeable because they supposedly stand for virtue itself. All who oppose them are therefore not just wrong but evil. So heretics like Gelernter must be stamped out because no quarter can ever be given to any challenge to secularism.

What secular liberals don’t understand is that in attacking the Jewish concepts at the core of the Christian West, they are not merely repudiating their own supposed ideals of tolerance and rationality, but are sawing off the branch on which they themselves are sitting.

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Melanie Phillips, a British journalist, broadcaster and author, writes a weekly column for JNS. Currently a columnist for “The Times of London,” her personal and political memoir, “Guardian Angel,” has been published by Bombardier, which also published her first novel, “The Legacy,” in 2018. Her work can be found at:www.melaniephillips.com.

FAQs

What is the conflict between science and religion? ›

They disagree, however, on how to precisely (and across times and cultures) demarcate the two domains. One way to distinguish between science and religion is the claim that science concerns the natural world, whereas religion concerns the supernatural world and its relationship to the natural.

Is there any relationship between religion and science? ›

The relationship between science and religion has typically been characterized as one of conflict, especially on the issue of origins (creationism vs. evolution). The historical reality is that science and religion have more often been complementary to each other, and the relationship has been dynamic.

What are three differences between religion and science? ›

Religion includes faith in some higher spiritual and heavenly entity that people worship. Science provides explanations and evidence of its existence. Religion works only on belief in god. Science works in the development of technology and making things easier for people.

What are the similarities and differences between science and religion? ›

Religion is a collection of beliefs, morals, ethics, and lifestyles while science is a collection of knowledge of natural phenomena and human behavior proved or disproved through analysis and evidence. It does not deal with morals or beliefs which are not proven. 2.

How do science and religion contradict each other? ›

The late William H.

Religion and science both offer explanations for why life and the universe exist. Science relies on testable empirical evidence and observation. Religion relies on subjective belief in a creator. Only one explanation is correct.

What came first science or religion? ›

The concepts of "science" and "religion" are a recent invention: "religion" emerged in the 17th century in the midst of colonization, globalization and as a consequence of the Protestant reformation. "Science" emerged in the 19th century in the midst of attempts to narrowly define those who studied nature.

Which religion is closest to science? ›

A commonly held modern view is that Buddhism is exceptionally compatible with science and reason, or even that it is a kind of science (perhaps a "science of the mind" or a "scientific religion").

What was the first religion in the world? ›

Contents. Hinduism is the world's oldest religion, according to many scholars, with roots and customs dating back more than 4,000 years. Today, with about 900 million followers, Hinduism is the third-largest religion behind Christianity and Islam. Roughly 95 percent of the world's Hindus live in India.

Does God exist Yes or no? ›

The atheistic conclusion is that the arguments and evidence both indicate there is insufficient reason to believe that any gods exist, and that personal subjective religious experiences say something about the human experience rather than the nature of reality itself; therefore, one has no reason to believe that a god ...

What are the differences between religious and scientific knowledge? ›

The difference between science knowledge and religious knowledge is that science knowledge is derived from belief supported by corroborable evidence, while religious knowledge is derived from faith (i.e. belief without evidence).

What is the difference between Bible and science? ›

Bible and science belong to wholly separate domains of reality. The Bible pertains to the sphere of morality and spirituality; science, by contrast, has dominion in the realm of physical things.

Why is science a closed belief system? ›

Science can also be seen as a closed belief system

The response from the scientific community was far from open. Instead of testing the new theory, scientists rushed to reject it without even reading the book. Scientists who called for the theory to be tested were victimised or even lost their jobs.

What is the difference between a theory and a belief? ›

Theory: An explanatio n for why certain laws and facts e xist that ca n be tested to determine its accuracy. Belief: A st atement that is not scie ntifically provable in the same wa y as facts, la ws, hypotheses or theories.

How is science different from religion quizlet? ›

The scientific method draws conclusions from facts, for example, scientific theories such as evolution which have been devised by observing facts about the world. The religious method draws facts from conclusions, for example using miracles as evidence for the existence of God.

Is science a belief system? ›

Science is an 'open belief system' – the data collected by scientists are open to testing by others. Research findings can thus be criticized. According to Popper, the process of scientists critically scrutinizing findings of other scientists is fundamental to the scientific method.

Is evolution a theory or fact? ›

Evolution is only a theory. It is not a fact or a scientific law. Many people learned in elementary school that a theory falls in the middle of a hierarchy of certainty—above a mere hypothesis but below a law. Scientists do not use the terms that way, however.

What is the main question that each religion seeks to answer? ›

One of the fundamental questions that religions seek to answer is that of origin. How was man put on earth? Why and from what was he created? Who created him?

What religions dont believe in God? ›

Atheism. Atheism describes a state of having no theistic beliefs; that is, no beliefs in gods or supernatural beings.

Which is the correct religion in the world? ›

Of the world's major religions, Christianity is the largest, with more than two billion followers. Christianity is based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and is approximately 2,000 years old.

When did humans start believing in God? ›

Prehistoric evidence of religion. The exact time when humans first became religious remains unknown, however research in evolutionary archaeology shows credible evidence of religious-cum-ritualistic behavior from around the Middle Paleolithic era (45–200 thousand years ago).

Who is the creator of this universe? ›

Brahma is said to be the source of all the knowledge that exists in this world.

Which is the fastest growing religion in the world? ›

Studies in the 21st century suggest that, in terms of percentage and worldwide spread, Islam is the fastest-growing major religion in the world.
...
Contents
  • 1.1 Buddhism.
  • 1.2 Chinese traditional religion.
  • 1.3 Christianity.
  • 1.4 Deism.
  • 1.5 Druze.
  • 1.6 Hinduism.
  • 1.7 Islam. 1.7.1 Modern growth. ...
  • 1.8 Judaism.

Which is the largest religion in the world? ›

Adherents in 2020
ReligionAdherentsPercentage
Christianity2.382 billion31.11%
Islam1.907 billion24.9%
Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist1.193 billion15.58%
Hinduism1.161 billion15.16%
18 more rows

Does Islam believe in evolution? ›

Muslims see few tensions between their faith and life in the modern world. Most think it is possible to be a devout Muslim and still live in a modern society, and many also dismiss the idea that there is an inherent antagonism between religion and science. Indeed, most Muslims say they believe in evolution.

Which religion did Jesus follow? ›

Of course, Jesus was a Jew. He was born of a Jewish mother, in Galilee, a Jewish part of the world. All of his friends, associates, colleagues, disciples, all of them were Jews. He regularly worshipped in Jewish communal worship, what we call synagogues.

Who is the oldest known God? ›

Inanna is among the oldest deities whose names are recorded in ancient Sumer. She is listed among the earliest seven divine powers: Anu, Enlil, Enki, Ninhursag, Nanna, Utu, and Inanna.

What was before Christianity? ›

Before Christianity, two major monotheistic religions existed in the ancient Mediterranean area. Explore the similarities and differences between Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and emerging Christianity, and how the empire initially accommodated their teachings and actions.

Who created God? ›

We ask, "If all things have a creator, then who created God?" Actually, only created things have a creator, so it's improper to lump God with his creation. God has revealed himself to us in the Bible as having always existed.

Is God a man? ›

As The Catechism of the Catholic Church says: "God is neither man nor woman: he is God".

Who is first man in the world? ›

ADAM1 was the first man. There are two stories of his creation. The first tells that God created man in his image, male and female together (Genesis 1: 27), and Adam is not named in this version.

What's the difference between scientific and spiritual? ›

The goal of science is a complete understanding of the fundamental principles underlying the physical universe in all its diverse forms. Spirituality is the awakening of wisdom concerning how we affectively relate to each other and to the world.

How is science an open belief system? ›

On the other hand, for Popper, science was an open belief system as it constantly opened itself up to criticism and testing and constantly sought to discover new knowledge.

What is scientism in simple words? ›

Definition of scientism

1 : methods and attitudes typical of or attributed to the natural scientist. 2 : an exaggerated trust in the efficacy of the methods of natural science applied to all areas of investigation (as in philosophy, the social sciences, and the humanities)

Can Christians believe in science? ›

So, yes, you can be a Christian and teach or believe in science. When you do, you'll find yourself in very distinguished company. In fact, many Christian scientists believe that scientific pieces of evidence discovered in nature cannot be correctly interpreted outside the framework of the Word of God.

What scientific facts are in the Bible? ›

3 Scientific Facts You Never Knew Were in the Bible
  • Gravity. Job 26:7. He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing. ...
  • Water Cycle. Job 26:8. He wraps up the waters in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight. ...
  • The Earth's Core. Job 28: 5.
12 Apr 2016

Can a scientist be religious? ›

An empirical answer to the question “can a scientist be religious” is easy: yes. Religious scientists are actually quite common.

Is science an open or closed system? ›

The physical universe, as we currently understand it, appears to be a closed system. An open system is a system that has flows of information, energy, and/or matter between the system and its environment, and which adapts to the exchange.

What is religious truth? ›

absolute and relative truth – people may believe that some things are always true while others things may vary according to situation or circumstance. religious truth - people follow a religion and so discover the 'truth' which comes from God or a sacred text.

Is science more important than religion sociology? ›

One reason why it is suggested that scientific knowledge is seen as superior to religious faith is because of the differing nature of the two belief systems. Karl Popper describes science as an open belief system, in contrast to religion which is a closed belief system.

Does a theory ever become a fact? ›

A theory never becomes a fact. It is an explanation of one or more facts. A well-supported evidence-based theory becomes acceptable until disproved. It never evolves to a fact, and that's a fact.

What is theory short answer? ›

A theory is a well-substantiated explanation of an aspect of the natural world that can incorporate laws, hypotheses and facts. The theory of gravitation, for instance, explains why apples fall from trees and astronauts float in space.

What is a theory in science? ›

A theory is a carefully thought-out explanation for observations of the natural world that has been constructed using the scientific method, and which brings together many facts and hypotheses.

How can science and religion both be true quizlet? ›

How can science and religion both be true? Both, science and religion, are true. Science deals with certain topics that can be measured, observed, and are objective, which means it can only prove scientific truths. Religion, on the other hand, is more logical and can't be measured or observed.

Can scientific theories become laws? ›

When the scientists investigate the hypothesis, they follow a line of reasoning and eventually formulate a theory. Once a theory has been tested thoroughly and is accepted, it becomes a scientific law.

Where is one of the areas where the theory of evolution is in conflict with our faith and why is it a point of conflict quizlet? ›

Where is one of the areas where the theory of evolution is in conflict with our Faith, and why is it a point of conflict? Theory of evolution believes that the universe was created from a big bang, whereas our faith believes that God created the universe in its entirety and everything in it.

Is there a conflict between science and religion? ›

Among those with a religious affiliation, 34% say their religious beliefs conflict with science, down from 41% in 2009. The perception of conflict is down among most major religious groups, including white evangelical Protestants (from 52% saying their own beliefs conflict with science in 2009 to 40% in 2014).

Which religion is closest to science? ›

A commonly held modern view is that Buddhism is exceptionally compatible with science and reason, or even that it is a kind of science (perhaps a "science of the mind" or a "scientific religion").

Can religion and science go together? ›

Religion and science are fundamentally incompatible. They disagree profoundly on how we obtain knowledge of the world. Science is based observation and reasoning from observation. Religion assumes that human beings can access a deeper level of information that is not available by either observation or reason.

What is it called when you don't believe in God but you believe in science? ›

Defining agnosticism. Agnosticism is of the essence of science, whether ancient or modern.

Are scientific and religious explanations philosophically incompatible? ›

When religious explanations explicitly invoke or presuppose empirical claims, and when these claims are understood factually, then scientific and religious explanations can indeed come into conflict.

Which religion is closest to science? ›

A commonly held modern view is that Buddhism is exceptionally compatible with science and reason, or even that it is a kind of science (perhaps a "science of the mind" or a "scientific religion").

How is science and religion presented in Jekyll and Hyde? ›

Dr Jekyll & The Supernaturals

He confesses that he uses both chemical and mystical methods to explore the duality of man at the end of the novel. Jekyll uses science, not religion, as an avenue to access the supernatural. We can back this up as his work leads “wholly towards the mystic and transcendental”.

What is a person who believes in God but not religion? ›

The religiously unaffiliated now make up just over one quarter of the U.S. population. While the Nones include agnostics and atheists, most people in this category retain a belief in God or some higher power. Many describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious,” or “SBNR,” as researchers refer to them.

Which religions do not believe in God? ›

Atheism. Atheism describes a state of having no theistic beliefs; that is, no beliefs in gods or supernatural beings.

Does God exist Yes or no? ›

The atheistic conclusion is that the arguments and evidence both indicate there is insufficient reason to believe that any gods exist, and that personal subjective religious experiences say something about the human experience rather than the nature of reality itself; therefore, one has no reason to believe that a god ...

What is the relationship between philosophy science and religion? ›

So, science and religion have different point of views on some questions. At the same time, philosophy works together with both, science and religion. Science exists as a process of nomination and the refutation of hypotheses, and the role of philosophy in this case is to study the criteria of science and rationality.

Do philosophers believe in God? ›

You might say, “But that doesn't have anything to do with replacing God?” and that's Jensen's point. “To be honest, most of philosophy isn't concerned in any direct sense with God or God's existence,” Jensen said. “It is one part of philosophy that we study, but we're not obsessed with it.

Is science a belief system? ›

Science is an 'open belief system' – the data collected by scientists are open to testing by others. Research findings can thus be criticized. According to Popper, the process of scientists critically scrutinizing findings of other scientists is fundamental to the scientific method.

What was the first religion? ›

Hinduism is the world's oldest religion, according to many scholars, with roots and customs dating back more than 4,000 years. Today, with about 900 million followers, Hinduism is the third-largest religion behind Christianity and Islam. Roughly 95 percent of the world's Hindus live in India.

Which religion is strongest in the world? ›

Major religious groups
  • Christianity (31.2%)
  • Islam (24.1%)
  • Irreligion (16%)
  • Hinduism (15.1%)
  • Buddhism (6.9%)
  • Folk religions (5.7%)
  • Sikhism (0.3%)
  • Judaism (0.2%)

Who is the oldest religion? ›

The word Hindu is an exonym, and while Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world, many practitioners refer to their religion as Sanātana Dharma (Sanskrit: सनातन धर्म, lit.

What attitude of the Victorian society to science is revealed in The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and or Mr Hyde? ›

It was a text that shook Victorian society and was condemned and banned due to its theory that God had not created the universe as outlined in the Bible. Consequently, people were cautious of science and its developments.

Why is science an important theme in Jekyll and Hyde? ›

Scientific experimentation Stevenson builds upon a ​Victorian reader's fears around science​by showing how far science can be pushed. Jekyll's work into the ​metaphysical​makes the scientific community within the text uncomfortable, this anxiety will be transferred to the reader.

How is the theme of religion presented in Jekyll and Hyde? ›

As religion was so prevalent in society ​religious symbolism ​would be universally understood by the readers of Jekyll and Hyde. It is therefore used throughout the text to shape meanings. As a work of ​gothic fiction​, religious references serve to contrast with and highlight the immoral events occurring.

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