Is Religion Compatible with the Scientific Method

I’ve touched on this before, but felt that the general consensus was that faith is at least as reliable as science. I’m wondering how people deal with the problems that arise when faith and science collide.

From the LDS Church News:

…[T]here is no conflict between the facts and truths of science and those given to us by direct revelation. Rather than conflicting, the facts and truths in each area complement each other, each supplying answers to basic questions which we must know, eventually, if we are to fulfill our destiny as sons and daughters and co-partners with our Father in His eternal plan.

Apparent conflicts arise when the theories of science — which serve as a scaffolding erected to try to understand relationships among observed facts — are mistaken for the experimentally verified facts.

I can think of many examples where not just theories but experimentally verified facts conflict with religion. One need only a cursory review of the scientific method to realize that religion and science clash at every turn. Despite the numerous quotations from Church leaders that true science and religion are bedfellows, I see them as diametrical opposites and wonder how they can exist together when one consistently conflicts with the other.

Deja Vu

OK. A while back, we talked a bit about Paranormal Activity (still waiting for the one reader to give me feedback on those pics Isent you) but I thought I would take it one step farther and ask what your thoughts are on Deja Vu.

For example, our old Bishop and his wife had a farewell on Saturday night, as they are leaving for a mission. When the person conducting started the proceedings, hubby pokes me, hands me the camera, and asks me to take pictures, as he doesn’t have a clear shot. I take the first shot, and as the flash went off, a “light bulb” moment went off in my head, and I knew I had done this exact thing before.

I was sitting in the front row, had been early as usual, and others had filed in behind me. Without turning around, I knew exactly who would be there and what they would be wearing. The food for the refreshments were in the kitchen. I leaned over at the end and told Keith exactly what would be on that counter and in what order. I told him who was going to come up to him to tell him something important and that at one point, someone was going to try taking the baby out of his arms.

As the evening progressed, everything happened as I told him 2 hours prior.

Explain that if you will.

The sandy soil of reason and logic

From the July 2008 issue of the Ensign, I found something interesting (emphasis mine):

We come to know the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ not simply by the exercise of intellect or the process of logic but by acting on what we learn. Through faith and obedience, the validity of gospel doctrine can be etched upon our hearts.

If our faith is rooted in the sandy soil of reason and logic, it will be swept away by a rising tide driven by the escalating winds of opposition. A faith founded in Jesus Christ and on the rock of revelation will endure through the fiercest storms of life (see Helaman 5:12).

Now, forgive me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the definition of reason and logic that it does not shift like sandy soil? Perhaps he meant, false reason and false logic—but that’s not what he said. What do you think?

LDS Women and Post Secondary Education

Should LDS women be encouraged to seek a post secondary education if they’ve expressed an interest in having a large observant family?

Let us assume that a large family could be classified as a family with five or more kids. These children, if all births are not multiples, can be born in a period not less than five 40 week intervals plus four 4 week periods to become impregnated again. This works out to 216 weeks or 4 years, 2 months. That’s a pretty tight schedule to keep, but possible I guess if one were motivated enough. The time from the birth of the first child until the exit from the home of the last child would be a period not less than approximately 22 and one half years (assuming a good synchronization with a school schedule or a home schooled family).

The world we live in now changes at an ever-increasing rate. There is evidence of exponential rates of change in industries and technologies used by employees and researchers the world over. The education you receive today may, depending on the field of study, not be useful or meaningful in 5 years time. Especially if you plan to work in a technical industry or in a research position. How much out of touch would you be if you were to cease your studies for 5 years? 10 years? Just imagine how hard it would be to initiate a job search in your field after leaving it for more than 20 years.

The description of a women’s role in the ‘The Family: A Proclamation to the World’ is that “women are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children” while men “are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.” This is familiar territory for many families with Dad being the breadwinner and Mom working in the home with the children. Most devout LDS women who work in the home go so far as to be available through the day for their children even when they are in secondary school or choose to home school their children themselves. Both of these behaviours offer little to no availability (or motivation) for additional work outside the home.

Given that raising a large family can span over two decades and that education now has an ever-decreasing shelf life, does it make sense for a young LDS women to attend a post secondary institution at all?

Let us, for a moment, consider other reasons one might wish one’s LDS daughters to attend a college, trade school or university if their education is not of a primary concern.

One argument is that being out on one’s own is a character building experience. True enough but one does not necessarily need to pay tuition to live outside one’s parent’s home.

Perhaps the argument is that all their friends are going off to school and they don’t want to be left behind or miss out on the shared experiences of their peers. Arguments that ‘everyone else is doing’ lead invariably in my mind to an exercise in bridge-jumping and at their core hold very little weight in regard to the best activities for youth in life experience and development of coping skills. In fact, leaving the pack can often be the child’s first experience of making their own decisions and developing coping strategies of their own.

Another argument is that attendance at one of the private LDS post secondary institutions is the best way for a young LDS lady to meet and be courted by a returned missionary and in time evaluate to what extent he takes his career studies seriously; not to mention the safety of being surrounded by members of one’s own faith during that courtship. This does have some sense to it, but the question remains; would it not be more cost efficient and time saving for the young lady to simply live in Provo or Rexburg until they’ve met the man they feel is ‘the one’? Many a parent may want to keep their daughters busy while they are in search of a life partner and simply enroll them so they have something to do during the search. But is this really an efficient and effective way of facilitating such a search? And what happens when she is wed and wishes to immediately start a family? Does the education she’s started simply be thrown away? Would this not lead to issues with her self esteem and self worth?

Would it not be more fair and effective if LDS parents were to instruct their daughters who have expressed interest in leading life as an observant LDS Mother of a large family, to not bother with post secondary education altogether?