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Uti index-papers-e-chapter5-religion-philosophy-and-science Uti index-papers-e-chapter5-religion-philosophy-and-science Document Transcript

  • Chapter5 The Relationship between Religion, Chapter5 Philosophy, and Science in HistoryThroughout history, it has been often said that religion and science are fighting with oneanother. Religion has often been regarded as hindering the development of science.However, has this really been the case? Let us examine this question from the viewpointof Unification Thought.I. Historical ExaminationA. Ancient Orient Human civilization originated in Mesopotamia and Egypt. In this first civilization,science was closely connected to religion. In other words, mathematics, astronomy,medicine, architecture, etc. were all connected with religious views of the cosmos andreligious rituals.B. Ancient Greek Age Before Socrates (470-399 B.C.), it was an age where philosophy and naturalscience were closely connected. For example, Heraclitus (ca.535-475 B.C.), with hisphilosophical view that all things were in flux, regarded fire as the origin of all thingsbecause, he thought, fire was the most changeable thing in nature. Later, in the Athenian Period, Socrates declared that the prime task of thephilosopher was the ordering of man and human society, not the understanding or thecontrol of nature. He rejected natural philosophy and concerned himself primarily withproblems of an ethical and political character. As a result, in that time both naturalscience and natural philosophy declined. Plato (427-347 B.C.) and Aristotle (384-322 B.C.), however, connected philosophyand science in a unified system, and again gave a philosophical meaning to naturalscience. Plato held that the universe was an uncreated chaos in the beginning, and thatthe ordering of this chaos was a result of the intellectual design by God. He called thebeing giving this order Idea. In this way, philosophy (the world of Idea) and science (theworld of phenomena) were connected. According to Aristotle, all beings and thingsconsist of form (the essential nature which makes a substance as it is) and matter. Formwas regarded as having purpose. In his view, philosophy and science were united, and 1
  • philosophy supported the development of science by connecting itself with naturalscience.C. Hellenism-Roman Age During the Alexandrian Period and the Roman Imperial Period, however, sciencediscarded philosophy and focused on only on practical technology. In Alexandria, a highlevel of technical culture flourished for some time, but in the age of the Roman Empire,science gradually declined as it lost its inspiration and vitality.D. Medieval Ages The great Father of the Church, Augustine (354-430) taught, “Go not out of doors,and return into thyself. In the inner man dwells truth.”1 In a similar way, many ChurchFathers thought that “the study of the stars was likely to lead to indifference to Him thatsitteth above the heavens.”2 Hence they did not recognize any positive value in thestudy of natural phenomena. Accordingly, natural science was not regarded as importantand declined. In the early Medieval Ages, throughout the Western World, interest in thenatural world was merely to find examples that testified to religious truth. In themeantime, Greek philosophy and science transferred to the Islamic world where theywere preserved and developed. Then, in the 12th century, the Western World importedphilosophy back from the Islamic world. In the 13th century, Christianity acceptedAristotle’s philosophy and engrafted it into Christian theology, finding positivesignificance in natural science.E. From Renaissance to 17th Century The heliocentric theory advocated by Nicolas Copernicus (1473-1542) broughtabout a great revolution in thinking. However, he did not change the then current God-centered cosmology to a cosmology without God. He regarded the universe as beencreated in accordance with the purpose of the Creator. Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) madeimportant astronomical discoveries that supported the Copernican viewpoint andexpanded the Copernican system. They were rejected by the Christian authorities, buttheir intention was not to deny the existence of God but to grasp more accurately God’swork of creation. Isaac Newton (1642-1727) established what is now called Newtonian dynamics andexplained the movements of the heavenly bodies based on his system. In a sense, heviewed the cosmos as a huge machine. He regarded God as the Being who gave the firstimpulse to this machine to start it moving, and the one coordinating its movement. To 2
  • Newton, God was the only ruler of the cosmos. He wrote as follows: The Deity endures forever, and is everywhere present, and by existing always and everywhere, He constitutes duration and space. . . . (He is) a Being incorporeal, loving, intelligent, omnipresent, who in infinite space, as it were in his sensory, sees the things themselves intimately, and thoroughly perceives them, and comprehends them wholly by their immediate presence to Himself.3 In the 17th century, scientists firmly believed that their task was to heighten theglory of God by revealing the truth about the natural world created by God. Based onthat belief, science developed remarkably.F. From 18th Century to 19th Century It was French mechanistic materialism that ejected God from Newton’smetaphysical mechanism. At first, French mechanistic materialism had an unchangingand fixed world view. French enlightenment thinkers, however, wanting to bring abouthuman progress, so they inserted the idea of progress into the fixed mechanistic worldview. This idea of progress developed by enlightenment thinkers led to the theory of solarsystem evolution (the nebula hypothesis) by Pierre Simon Laplace, and to the theory ofbiological evolution by Jean Baptist Lamarck. The biological theory of evolution led tothe establishment of Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection. This was seen as thevictory of science over religion (creation theory) and it became a theoretical support formaterialistic philosophy. The progress of science in this age, however, was not based on an atheisticworldview. To the contrary, it was theistic worldviews that stimulated scientificdevelopment. For example, Hans Christian Oersted (1777-1851) of Denmark exploredthe relationship between electricity and magnetism. Starting with the observation that anelectric current moved a magnetic needle, he proceeded to demonstrate the connectionbetween them. Oersted had been strongly influenced by a German natural philosophythat held that all natural phenomena were manifestations of an original force. In A History of the Sciences, Stephen F. Mason explains: “Since there was only onekind of power behind the development of nature in their philosophy, namely, that of theWorld Spirit, they held that light, electricity, magnetism, and chemical forces, were allinterconnected: all different aspects of the same thing.”4 In a similar fashion, the principle of the conservation of energy was established by 3
  • Robert Mayer (1814-78) and Herman Helmholtz (1821-92). In German naturalphilosophy, there was the idea of a single fundamental, imperishable force providing thebasis for all natural phenomena. In this way, scientists directed their research usingphilosophy as their guiding principle.G. 20th Century Science developed remarkably in the 20th century. As a result, it became possible toexplain the movement and structure of matter at the level of atoms and molecules. Withthe disappearance of the boundaries between physics, chemistry, and biology, we arenow approaching a united view of the sciences. The theory of relativity by AlbertEinstein (1879-1955) drastically revised the view of the cosmos based on Newtoniandynamics. The concept of absolute space and time existing objectively was abandoned.Instead, time and space were not dealt with separately but in a united way. In the sameperiod, Einstein and Louis De Broglie (1892-1987) established that all particles,including light, have a united nature of both wave and particle. Thus, science in the 20thcentury was guided by the united view of nature. As revealed by Einstein’s famous comment—“I would like to know on whatprinciples God created this world”—there was a belief in natural laws designed by Godthat provided a unified view of nature.II. Science, Religion and Philosophy An examination of the relationship between science and religion/philosophy inhistory shows that the relationship was not one of conflict and struggle but one whereprogress in science was guided by religion/philosophy. In other words, religion andphilosophy played the role of a compass that enabled the ship of science to sail forward. However, the direction given by religion and philosophy to science has notnecessarily been correct. This is because religion and philosophy thus far have not beenperfect. Consequently, there were times when the directions given by religion orphilosophy were not conducive to the development of science. One typical example wasthe Christian theology of the Church Fathers in the early Medieval Ages. Theyconsidered only the internal aspect of human beings as important. There were cases in which a traditional view and a new view clashed. For instance,the cosmology of Aristotle and Claudius Ptolemy (who perfected the geocentric theory)that dominated the Medieval Ages, was replaced by those scientists from Copernicus toNewton during the period from the Renaissance to the 17th century. This collapse wasnot brought about as a result of the struggle between religion that recognized God and a 4
  • science that did not. Both sides recognized God’s existence and His creation. Thestruggle was between the geocentric theory, which was based on an old naturalphilosophy, and the new heliocentric theory. This was a struggle between an old view ofnature and a new one. The advocates of the new view of nature, such as Copernicus,Galileo, Kepler, Newton, fought the narrow-minded religious leaders who severelyattacked and persecuted them. They were not only scientists but also bearers of a newview of God. Their aim was to defeat the old view. There were also cases in which a new philosophy in one age became an old one inanother, having finished its role. In the following age, this then clashed when a newphilosophy emerged. Let us consider the role played by the world view (philosophy)called mechanism. It was René Descartes who established mechanism in the modernage. This mechanistic philosophy had a powerful influence on Newton, who foundedNewtonian dynamics. Mechanism reached its zenith in the 19th century, with theconcise explanation of chemistry and heat in terms of atoms. However, it was hard fromthe viewpoint of mechanism to recognize that gravity and electromagnetic forces are atwork across empty space. At first, it was thought that such forces were channeledthrough a physical medium called ether. Einstein banished the ether and replaced it withspace-time as the medium carrying electromagnetic impulses. In that context, StevenWeinberg, quantum physicist, wrote: Even after the triumph of Newtonianism, the mechanical tradition continued to flourish in physics. The theories of electric and magnetic fields developed in the nineteenth century by Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell were couched in a mechanical framework, in terms of tensions within a pervasive physical medium, often called the ether. Nineteenth century physicists were not behaving foolishly— all physicists need some sort of tentative worldview to make progress, and the mechanical worldview seemed as good a candidate as any. But it survived too long.5 As Weinberg notes, as all physicists need some sort of tentative worldview to makeprogress, science has been developing with philosophy as its guide. In the same way, inthe current age there is a conflict between creation theory and evolution theory. Yet, thisis not a conflict between religion and science. It is a conflict between a philosophy thatadvocates creation, and another philosophy that advocates evolution. Both are arguingabout the merits of its particular way of interpreting scientific facts. Their relationship isillustrated in figure 5.1. Therefore, the issue of creation or evolution boils down to 5
  • which side is able to explain more reasonably and logically the scientific facts that arediscovered. Since Darwin, the creation theory of Christianity has been overshadowed by thetheory of evolution. Thanks to the appearance of the Unification Thought theory ofcreation, however, the time has come for the creation theory to have the last word andclaim a final victory. Until today, religion and philosophy have been playing the role of giving light inthe darkness according to the needs of the respective age. Accordingly, along with theadvancement of the age, the religion and philosophy that had given light in the previousage have gradually become less useful. A new religion and philosophy that meets theneeds of a new age will appear and further guide the development of science. Today,science has lost its way and is searching for a new guide. Accordingly, there is anearnest longing for the appearance of a new religion and philosophy that can give thetrue direction and inspiration to science. Through the conflicts and struggles between philosophies and between religions,culture has been gradually moving in the direction of the original ideal of creation. Ofcourse, there have been times when religion lost its inner life and did not inspire. Atsuch times, culture became dominated by atheistic philosophy and drifted away fromthe direction of the original creation. After a time, however, reformed religion andphilosophy appeared and guided culture back in the direction toward the ideal of theoriginal creation. There were occasions in history, for example, when Christian leaders gavespiritually dead words that obstructed the development of science. Still, as a whole itcan be said that Christianity contributed greatly to the development of sciencethroughout the course of history. Andrew Dickson White, one of the founders of CornellUniversity in the United States, explained how the problem arose: It [religion] has done much for it [science]. The work of Christianity has been mighty indeed. . . . And its work for science, too, has been great. It has fostered science often. Nay, it has nourished that feeling of self-sacrifice for human good, which has nerved some of the bravest men for these battles. Unfortunately, a devoted army of good men started centuries ago with the idea that independent scientific investigation is unsafe ― that theology must intervene to superintend its methods, and the Biblical record, as an historical compendium and scientific treatise, be taken as a standard to determine its results. So began this great modern war (italics added).6 6
  • The change of history of culture driven by the conflicts between philosophies orbetween religions is illustrated in figure 5.2. With regard to the relationship betweenreligion and philosophy, it can be said that religion is a teaching about ultimateexistence and that philosophy serves as guidance for actual problems in human society.Therefore, a philosophy is established on the basis of a religion. Even a philosophy thatdenies God is a philosophy based on a kind of religion; a pseudo-religion where theAbsolute is something other than God. Accordingly, behind the changes in culturalhistory there were struggles between religions and their derived philosophies. In thosestruggles are included the struggle between a religion and a pseudo-religion, andbetween an old idea and a new one within the same religion.III. Development of Science and God’s Providence God’ Science has been developing according to God’s providence, and this transcends thewill of individual scientists. These are two examples of such historical developments: In the early years of the 19th century, the prince of geometers, Carl FriedrichGauss(1777-1855), and others developed a non-Euclidean geometry that described theproperties of curved space. This non-Euclidean geometry was later extended by GeorgFriedrich Bernhard Riemann(1826-66) into a general theory of curved spaces of anynumber of dimensions, whence it came to be called Riemannian geometry. Together,Gauss and Riemann developed this theory within the abstract world of puremathematics with no conception of any physical application. Later, however, whenEinstein developed general relativity, the mathematics developed by Gauss, Riemann,and others proved to be essential. He realized that the way of expressing his ideas wasto ascribe gravitation to the curvature of space-time, and he used that mathematics todescribe the curved three-dimensional spaces, or even curved four-dimensional space-time. Weinberg makes this comment on this sequence of events: The mathematics was there waiting for Einstein to make use of, although I believe that Gauss and Riemann and the other differential geometers of the nineteenth century had no idea that their work would ever have any application to physical theories of gravitation (italics added).7 The second example was when the group theory initiated by Evariste Galois(1811-32) in the early 19th century was applied to elementary particle physics in the 20th. Inphysics, it was found that this math described the internal symmetry principles that werebeing discovered. Using the principles of group theory, neutrons and protons were found 7
  • to bear a strong family likeness to six other particles known as hyperons, altogethermaking a family of eight particles. In 1960, Gell-Mann and Yuval Ne’manindependently found that the family structure of eight elementary particles could befully described by one of the simple Lie groups known as SU(3). This discovery led tothe quark theory. Based on those facts, Weinberg writes: It is very strange that mathematicians are led by their sense of mathematical beauty to develop formal structures that physicists only later find useful, even where the mathematician had no such goal in mind. A well-known essay by the physicist Eugene Wigner refers to this phenomenon as “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics.” Physicists generally find the ability of mathematicians to anticipate the mathematics needed in the theories of physicists quite uncanny. . . . Where then does a physicist get a sense of beauty that helps not only in discovering theories of the real world, but even in judging the validity of physical theories, sometimes in the teeth of contrary experimental evidence? And how does a mathematician’s sense of beauty lead to structures that are valuable decades or centuries later to physicists, even though the mathematician may have no interest in physical applications?8 From the fact that the mathematical theories were prepared for later use byphysicists, we are led to the conclusion that this was an aspect of God’s providence.This first guided the mathematicians to establish a mathematical theory, and later guidedscientists to discover a physical law of the universe, using that mathematical theory.IV. Conclusion We have demonstrated that it is God’s providence that has guided the developmentof culture. Through the process of conflict and struggle between philosophies, culturehas been gradually progressing toward the ideal of the original creation. Currently, God’s providence is entering into the final stage when the world of theoriginal ideal will be realized. Therefore, there is a need for a core religious truth thatcompletely harmonizes with modern science and clearly shows God’s existence, Hispurpose of creation, and His works of creation. Science must go forward under theguidance of that truth. A. D. White urges this unity: Let the warfare of Science, then, be changed. Let it be a warfare in which Religion and Science shall stand together as allies, not against each other as enemies. Let the 8
  • fight be for truth of every kind against falsehood of every kind; for justice againstinjustice; for right against wrong; for the living kernel of religion rather than thedead and dried husks of sect and dogma; and the great powers, whose warfare hasbrought so many sufferings, shall at last join in ministering through earth God’srichest blessings (italics added).9 9
  • Fig. 5.1. Real Situation of Conflict between Creation Theory and Evolution TheoryFig. 5.2. Change of Cultural History through the Conflict between Philosophies 10