The Real Wedge- Out of the Closet links to a blog entry by Jason Rosenhouse containing a comment I'll use for this blog entry. The author uses an internet handle and the comment is not noteworthy because of its source. But the writer repeats often argued positions based on modern mythologies. The ancients were not unique in their attachment to mythology. Westerners have their own although they are loathe to think so. Western mythologies impact discussions of Intelligent Design. I'll dissect the comment to highlight the separation of myth from reality.
There are at least two sources of incompatibility between science and religion:
1. Evidence in religion is considered unnecessary, perhaps even undesirable, in forming beliefs.
Myth. What religions make this claim? It is true that religions are not belief systems grounded in empirical results. Neither are philosophies, political positions, artistic endeavors, conversations and most of the rest of life. Evidence would not likely be considered unnecessary to the dominant religions familiar to western culture. Not when such religions make reference to long scriptural accounts detailing historic circumstances relevant to central doctrines.
2. The conclusions reached by scientific reasoning thus far conflict with the assertions of most religious systems. We have failed to find any evidence that the world was created by any supernatural intelligence,
Another myth. There is plenty of evidence included in different apologetic writings arguing conceptually for God's existence. Judeo-Christian scriptures identify God by character traits as well. Not being persuaded does not equate to "no evidence."
that ghostly souls interact with our material bodies and survive death in some way,
Where is the conflict with science? There have been studies alluded to at Telic Thoughts which substantiate some of the claims related to near death experiences. Not conclusive but neither is it evidence of a conflict with science.
or that prayer or magic of any sort can effect the physical world, to name a few problems.
There is evidence that prayer can impact those who pray. They are part of the physical world. Anecdotal evidence encompasses that prayed for. Not scientifically conclusive. But neither do we have a conflict with science.
As an ex faithist, I'd like to add another point (related to no. 1) that I think is particularly damning.
According to a face-value reading of the Bible, you shouldn't question.
It is better to accept a claim without evidence rather than ask for proof (see for example the story of Doubting Thomas).
Much is left unsaid. Thomas was an apostle i.e. one who lived and travelled with Christ. The commenter chose the parameter of the argument and is bound by it i.e. its evidentiary reference to Thomas. Thomas would have seen the miracles performed by Christ. He would have had a rational basis for concluding that Christ had extraordinary powers prior to the crucifixion. He was not chided for disbelieving that John Doe rose from the dead. His unbelief was marked by prior first hand experiences with miraculous events. IOW, Thomas had extraordinary evidence he chose to ignore.
There are numerous lines in the Bible (both Old and New Testament) that dismiss the value of human reason or wisdom in comparison to the word of God/Scripture.
That human reason would suffer by comparison to the wisdom of an omniscient, all-powerful God is hardly surprising. Mix myths with unsteady logic. Add a dash of empirical idolotry and you have a science vs. religion warrior.