Religion and Science
By Justice Markandey Katju
Religion and Science are diametrically opposed to each other. They are poles apart, and it is nonsense to say that they complement each other.
1. Religion says that there is a supernatural entity called God ( also called Allah, Bhagwan, or whatever ), who is immortal, permanent, all-powerful, merciful, all-good, etc.
Science does not believe in supernatural entities. It does not believe anything in the Universe is permanent. Everything is changing and in flux, in accordance with some laws, which can be discovered by scientific research.
Also, if there is a God, and he is merciful, why do millions of poor children in the world, who have done no harm to anyone, suffer due to hunger, cold, lack of proper clothes and shelter, and many without proper education and healthcare? Why does not God provide for them? This was the question posed by the great Russian writer Dostoevsky in his novel Brothers Karamazov.
Science holds that there are no supernatural entities like God, angels, fairies, demons, witches or soul ( and therefore there is no such thing as the transmigration of the soul or resurrection on Judgment Day ).
Science holds that the only reality is matter ( or rather matter and energy, which are really two forms of the same entity, according to Einstein’s equation e=mc2 ), which is in different forms, and in motion according to certain laws.
Some people ask: who created matter?
The answer is: there is no creator of matter. The matter came from matter, though the form keeps changing.
2. With every step science advances, religion recedes. Thus, people at one time thought that smallpox is due to the anger of a goddess ( mata ), but now we know it is because of a virus and can be prevented by innoculation. People at one time thought that rains are caused by a rain god, Indra, and so if there is drought we have to propitiate that god in some way ( many people in India still believe that ). Today we know that rains are caused by the build-up of low-pressure areas over heated land. People at one time believed that Adam and Eve were created by God. Later Darwin proved that men evolved from the apes.
3. Religion relies on faith and divine revelation.
Science relies on observation, experiment and reason.
4. Religion claims to say the final word, and cannot be changed. Thus, the Vedas, the Quran, the Bible, etc cannot be changed.
In science there is no final word, and scientific theories can, and have been, regularly tested and changed.
For example, Newton said in 1666 that light travelled as particles ( the corpuscular theory ). But in
1678 the Dutch scientist Huygens’ propunded his Fresnel principle that light travelled as waves. Much later Max Planck propounded his Quantum theory which said that light travelled as discrete particles. Still later, Quantum mechanics, as propounded by De Broglie, and as developed by Heisenberg, Schrodinger, etc, said that particles can be conceived of as waves ( and vice versa )
5. Religion says that the Universe was created at a particular time by God, with all living beings. But Darwin proved by his theory of evolution, that creatures have evolved.
6. Religion says that there has to be a Creator of the Universe, which is God.
Science says that there is no such Creator. The only reality in the Universe is matter ( or rather matter-energy, since matter and energy are two forms of the same substance, as Einstein proved ), and matter is in motion, in accordance with certain laws, which can be discovered by scientific research. If it is asked where did matter come from, the answer is matter came from matter.
If it is said that every thing must have a creator, then that creator too must have a creator. i.e. a super creator, and that super creator too must have a creator, i.e. a super super creator, and so on. This is known as the fallacy of the infinite regress.
7. Religion says that God is all powerful, merciful and all good. If that is so, then why do millions of people in the world suffer from hunger, cold, etc ? Why does God, who is said to be merciful, not have mercy on them and give them food, clothes, shelter, etc ?
Why is there so much poverty, unemployment, malnourishment, sickness etc in the world? If God is
powerful and merciful, why does he not abolish these and give everyone a decent life?
It is true that some scientists believed in God. But that only proves that scientific and unscientific ideas can co-exist in the same head, and it will take a long time, probably several generations, before unscientific ideas are altogether eliminated
All religions are superstitious and false. The truth lies in science, which is constantly developing.
If India is to progress, we must go over from religion to science.