Science and religion
Many persons consider religion and science as opposites. These are not opposites but complement each other. Actually, humans are face to face with not two, but three realities: The "material" realities belonging universe, the "intellectual" realities produced by reasoning and the "conveyed" realities belonging the metaphysical world, which transferred by prophets. Allah (swt) created the material and spiritual realms. He established their rules. Therefore, no conflict can exist between the knowledge of these two realms. All of the material realities, intellectual realities and conveyed realities are a whole.
Many persons consider religion and science as opposites. Undoubtedly, this perception is extremely wrong. Religion and science do not oppose but complement each other. By the data it provides, science helps people get to know better the universe in which they live and make inventions which will make their lives easier while religion guides humans to the summit of their behavioral maturity helping them live harmoniously with the universe. Actually, humans are face to face with not two, but three realities. These are the material realities belonging universe, the intellectual realities produced by reasoning and the conveyed realities belonging the metaphysical world, which transferred by prophets.
These are the realities of the material realm. Information regarding these are obtained by observation and experimentation. Everyone can make observations. However, in the practices of scientists, observations are performed much more meticulously and, when necessary, using various tools. Having a certain opinion as a result of observations, scientists render that opinion into a hypothesis. Then they try to verify their hypothesis by trying it after creating the necessary conditions. Knowledge verified by experimentation is called a scientific knowledge. Scientific knowledge reveals the unknown secrets of the realities of the material realm.
In recent centuries, experimentation techniques have been improved and analysis methods which distinguish natural deviations on events from the effects created by the observed factor have been developed and thus it has become possible to accurately calculate the effects of factors. And this has rendered scientific studies faster and more efficient.
Dear readers, although scientific knowledge helps us learn about the secrets of the material realm, it is obtained within limited time and space conditions. It is not possible to precisely predict how they might manifest in wider time and space ranges or on very different objects and subjects. To reach more positive results, therefore, this knowledge is interpreted based on similar scientific studies previously carried out.
Intellectual realities include theories and mathematical realities.
As scientific experiments can be performed within limited time and space conditions, the data obtained are subject to those limited conditions. In order to fully understand the material realm in which we live, we also need to know about the events which have been occurring since thousands of years in the infinity of the universe. For example, we want to learn the answer to many questions such as how mountains were created, how earthquakes take place, how and from where the sun extracts its energy etc. Within the limited capabilities of the experimentation method, however, it is not possible to learn about these by experimentations.
In this situation, we just need to develop opinions which will explain events in the best way possible based on very small amount of information discovered by science. Such comprehensive explanations based on scientific findings are called "theories". Theories are accepted as truths until new scientific findings emerge which refute previous findings. As a matter of fact, theories are not realities but opinions which can change in time.
One of the typical examples is the evolutionary theory. This theory was an opinion which argued that all the species emerge by evolving from each other. Tens of thousands of books were written on this matter. Detailed studies carried out on fossils, however, have revealed that the reality of the matter is very different.
If the evolutionary theory was right, "many transitional forms would be present. But even a single transitional fossil that shows transition from species to species, as argued Darwinists, is not available. Despite this lack of a single transitional form, there are more than 350 millions of fossils which show that species have remained for millions of years without any change (without any evolution)"
Another impasse of the evolutionary theory is the question of how the first protein molecule needed for each species occurred. Some of my readers might not know. But all the biologists working on physiology and biochemistry of species know very well that life events actually consist of two main systems including energy generating mechanisms and biosynthesis mechanisms which utilize that energy. In order for any biosynthesis event to occur, antecedents, energy and biocatalysts are needed. Even if antecedents are available, synthesis is not possible without energy and biocatalysts. Energy is supplied by a co-enzyme named ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP functions in connection with a protein molecule. Biocatalysts on the other hand are enzymes with a protein structure. As anyone can easily understand from this, two separate protein molecules are needed for the synthesis of a need protein molecule. Then, how can a protein molecule be synthesized when there are no antecedent protein molecules, one which provide energy and other which assume the role of a catalyst?
Mathematical realities consist the second group of intellectual realities.
While theories are opinions which can change with the emergence of new findings, mathematical realities contain absolute data. For example, in order to learn how many tin cans you can place onto a shelf, you don't need to place them one by one to see the result. By calculation, especially if you have a calculator, you can learn the result in just seconds. This knowledge which you obtain by calculation is absolute and accurate information. You can rely on that.
Due to this certainty of mathematical realities, fundamental sciences such as physics, chemistry and biology and also applied sciences such as agronomy, pathology and sociology have always tried to utilize mathematics in order to reach more certain and accurate conclusions. As a matter of fact, mathematical realities are each a virtual reality. Despite this fact, these realities revivified each field of science they were involved in and ensured the progression of those sciences rapidly. Currently, there is almost no branch of science which doesn't utilize the opportunities provided by math.
Dear readers, learning about scientific realities and intellectual realities ensures that we can understand in more detail the order in which we live. But they don't enable us to know about how emerged the order in which we live first-time and by whom it is arranged and managed. This can only be learned through the knowledge which is provided by the owner of the order. As such information is transmitted to us through the messengers of the Creator, who is the owner of the order; the realities learned by this way are called "the conveyed realities". Conveyed realities refer to the invisible spiritual realm beyond the visible material realm. This spiritual realm is just like software operating behind hardware. Knowledge regarding that realm is the ready knowledge offered to us through religious books. It is possible to consider religious books as manuals which show the right way of living in harmony with the order provided to us by the creator, founder, owner and manager of the order. Just like we can use a device in the most accurate way when we refer to its manual, humans can live in the most suitable way without damaging the ecosystem and society in which they live when they live according to the manual explaining the right way of living offered to them. And this provides a human being the biggest perfection they can ever possess.
Consequently, as can be understood from the information provided above, all of the material realities, intellectual realities and conveyed realities are a whole. They complement each other. Humans can completely and correctly understand the environment in which they live by only possessing the knowledge regarding these three different realities.
Some scientists believe that religion is a "dogma" and that, therefore, it is the biggest barrier in front of science. Undoubtedly, this is a great misconception. Certainly, the judgments of religion are not scientific judgments but value judgments. Like all value judgments, they are also dogmas.
"Scientific judgments" are judgments which are verified by experimentation, that is, their realities are proved by experiments.
"Value judgments", on the other hand, are judgments which mostly can't be experimented upon, which many people positively consider to be real and right, and to which religion, state or any community assign value.
But religious value judgments have a very important difference from the values which humans assign to objects and events (like the value on money): There are no conflicts between basic values of religion with scientific judgments as the both values are assigned by Allah (swt), who also assigns the values of material realm. On the contrary, there is a great consistency between them. Both of them reveal the universal truths of all times in their specific fields (science in the field of material events and religion in the field of human behaviors). Therefore, contrary to what some scientists believe, religious judgments never conflict with scientific judgments. On the contrary, each new finding of science experimentally reveals how much rightful, accurate and realistic religious judgments are. It must be known here, of course, that we refer to Islam which is the only religion in the sight of Allah, which formed the core of all heavenly religions and which has been communicated to humanity through the messengers of Allah (swt) since the time of the first human being.
Dear readers, Allah (swt) created the material and spiritual realms. He is the owner of the both realms. He is who created the both realms, established their rules and manages them. Therefore, it is obvious that no conflict can exist between the knowledge of these two realms.
Consequently, it won't be a wrong approach to say that science and religion complement each other and that humans need both of them greatly.
Be entrusted to Allah.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Ismail Ulukus is a former phytopathologist and researcher. He has various articles written on plant diseases. In these days, he has begun to write articles on moral values due to a moral degeneration growing up on the entire world. He is publishing now these articles on his blog, http://ulukus.blogspot.com and on his website, http://www.esinti.biz