The argument over whether or not science and religion are incompatible is almost as old as empirical science itself, and the debate rages on today. Recently, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) released a video response to the propaganda-ridden
documentary film, Expelled. The video is below:
It features a slew of scientists, like Francis Collins, talking about how their faith and their science don't compete with each other, hearkening to Stephen J Gould's non-overlapping magisteria. Now, I know that the idea that religion and science are compatible has come up alot recently concerning the subject of evolution, and I know that "theistic evolution" seems to be gaining popularity (that is, more theists are accepting evolution, rather than evolutionists accepting theism). The argument goes that God created the world and gave the spark of life, and then used evolution to guide the development of organisms.
But if you ask me, this is blatant doublethink. The Bible gives special precedence to humans. We are supposedly God's chosen organism. After all, he supposedly created the whole universe just to have a place to put us so we could worship him. Now, suppose that you could roll back time and start everything over again. God gives the spark of life and pushes the START button on evolution. What would happen? There are two possibilities. First, due to the random nature of mutations and chance effects of environmental pressures, evolution would proceed differently than it had the first time around. After 4.5 billion years, it would be very likely that humans would not be the dominant, intelligent lifeform, if humans would evolve at all. If that was the case, then how could humans be the "chosen" organism if our development was never a guarantee? The second possibility is that evolution would proceed exactly as it had the first time, the same mutations being made, the same environmental pressures arising; in a sense, evolution would be guided by God's hand, and each chance occurrence was fated to happen. In this case, the rules of evolution - namely, random mutations being directed and chosen by the environment - are violated; there is no chance or randomness if they were always fated to occur. In other words, God would have effectively created humans, albeit through a lengthy and drawn out process. Whichever of the two possibilities would occur, the conclusion is seemingly the same: there are areas of Biblical religion and evolution that are incompatible. Acceptance of one means you cannot accept 100% of the other.
But let's put theistic evolution aside for a moment. The bigger question that remains to be answered is whether or not science as a whole is incompatible with religion. As stated before, the AAAS seems to take the stance that religion and science are two separate fields that answer different kinds of questions. They are compatible because they have nothing to do with each other. I disagree with this idea completely.
If you accept the Biblical, Abrahamic God, then you accept a god who has influence on our physical world. Even if God is supernatural, and supposedly outside the reach of science, if he has an effect on our natural world, then there has to be an entirely naturalistic mechanism by which this happens. Even the creation of the universe, a material, physical thing, would require a naturalistic explanation. Such mechanisms ARE within the realm of scientific inquiry. Science and religion, therefore, do overlap, do conflict. Unless, of course, you subscribe the the belief of a God that is utterly outside physical experience, and does not interact with the material world. Then, I ask, what is the point of such a God? The existence of such a God would have no practical difference than if he did not exist at all; belief would be pointless (and a waste of time with all the praying and worshipping).
Moreover, scientific investigation has time and time again shown many things in the Bible to be blatantly false; and if some parts of the Bible are false, how can we be sure that other parts of the Bible are not also false? How can one believe that any part of the Bible is true - literally or otherwise - if science has continually shown it to be flawed?
Science is not about what makes you happy. It's about finding the truth. And when it comes to truth, religion has a habit of falling short.