We all know that a feud is going on between Science and Religion, on the theory of evolution for a long time. Bill Nye the Science Guy visited Kentucky (Feb 4, 2014) for a creation-vs.-evolution debate with Creation Museum founder Ken Ham. But is Science’s theory of evolution really going against Religion? Let’s analyze it a bit to examine the important things that both sides are saying, and if they are contradicting each other!
The most sought after element in our lives is probably happiness. Our popular idea is that Religion is supposed to give us the guidance that we can follow to find happiness. The first thing Religion does, is make us believe in the existence of a supreme force, and calls it God.
Science, on the other hand, says that the proof of the existence of a force lies in the activity caused by it, or there is a force behind each activity. Also, according to science, a supreme activity called Evolution has been going on in our planet for the past millions of years, and has transformed the life forms from the lowly amoeba to today’s human! It has happened very slowly but definitely, in small steps of positive changes. So, there has to be a supreme force running this act! This concept is parallel to the concept of God in religion. Thus science can reinforce the religious belief about the presence of a supreme force in our lives!
Next, Religion builds a code of conduct for us, and tells us that if we follow this code, we would please God, who in turn would reward us with happiness. This code of conduct includes advices for us to live our lives in certain ways to find happiness. If we analyze these advices properly (without distorting them), we probably will find that they are overwhelmingly positive - suggesting us to do good deeds. These positive activities normally create positive changes in our lives, and in the world around us.
On the other hand, let’s use science and logic to see what kind of situation has the most probability of finding happiness. We already know from science that we live in the force field of the force of evolution. Science also says that in the field of a force, all activities in sync, or in the same direction of the force are peaceful (or happy), while those opposing the force are turbulent (or miserable). So, activities in sync with this force may bring happiness, and those against the force may bring misery.
We may ask, how do we stay in sync or in the same direction with this force? First, we have to know the direction of this force! To find it, we have to look at what it is doing. Looking at the activities of this force for the past few million years, we see that the process of evolution has transformed life forms from the lowly amoeba to today’s human. This is a clear, very gradual, but an absolute trend of positive changes! Evolution is happening in very small but definite steps of positive changes. So, staying in tune, or in the same direction with the force of evolution may simply mean staying positive, or promoting positive changes through our activities, however extremely minute they may be! And the reward may be the pleasant feeling called happiness, in many different forms! Religion says the same thing !
The lower animals seem to promote the process of evolution instinctively. They eat to stay alive and healthy to carry on the activities to promote the process of evolution. Then they defend their territories, and mate to propagate the species, which are also acts to promote evolution. And it seems that we humans have evolved to such a higher state that we have acquired the ability to not only promote evolution by much higher amounts, but also the capability to resist the process by negative acts. So, it looks like we may be able to control our own destiny for finding happiness to a large extent by creating or promoting positive changes around us, or find misery by creating negative changes!
So, it seems like Science and Religion both believe in the existence of a supreme power in our lives; and they both conclude that when we promote the creation of positive changes in the world around us, we are rewarded with happiness. Thus, Science is not really opposing Religion with its theory of evolution. To the contrary, it may in fact, be able to provide a scientific and logical foundation to the beliefs of Religion, and can provide the badly needed bridge between Science and Religion.
We might also have found an important tool, as a by-product of our analysis. It is a simple logical formula to recognize our activities which can increase our chances of finding happiness. A good activity should create a net positive change in our lives and the world around us, mostly in very minute amounts. Thus it stays in tune with the direction of evolution by promoting it through creation of positive changes, and in turn, increase the chances of finding happiness.
This formula may also act as a very important filter, that can enable us to detect the distorted interpretations or beliefs of religious advises which produce no net positive changes, or negative changes in our lives and in our world. This, unfortunately, we see happening quite often in today’s world!
As a footnote, we may add that we have a natural sense to detect the positive from the negative from the very early childhood, without being instructed. This has been proven in many scientific studies. It seems that a Mother Nature’s program is flowing in us, so that we like activities which are good for us, and our environment. These activities create positive changes and thereby promote the process of evolution. We probably have a natural structure of priorities, which is in sync with, and supports the process of evolution until some attribute like out-of-control greed or something similar distorts it !
The writer was born in Kolkata, India. He received his BS in Science form Calcutta University, and then BS in Electrical Engineering from Jadavpur University, India. He emigrated to USA in 1968, and did his Masters in Electrical Engineering. Currently, he is acting as one of the directors of Pradhan Foundation, a non-profit organization, which is involved in projects for advancement of technology in medical and other fields, here in the USA, and in India.
Though his profession has been in Technology, his real passion has been in Spirituality.