Falsifiability of Science and the Transcendentalism of Religion

By Jami, Jamil Asghar | Islamic Studies, Winter 2008 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Falsifiability of Science and the Transcendentalism of Religion


Jami, Jamil Asghar, Islamic Studies


Abstract

Today we are living in an age when science has had a profound effect on our thinking and behaviour. Almost every sphere of our life has been affected by science to such an extent that we have developed a mistrust of all that is not part of science. Scientific spirit has come to characterise and almost determine our mental attitudes. Thanks to this overwhelming influence of science, it was natural for the modern man to judge the validity of all that he considers true against the touchstone of science. More recently, the word scientific has become a blanket term to denote accuracy and correctness. Unconsciously (and at times even consciously) the adjective scientific is equated with true and perhaps the only true. Today, more than ever, a great many scholars and theists are desperately striving to adapt religion to the advancements and discoveries of science. Scholars belonging to different religions are taking great pride in flaunting the so-called scientific character of their respective religions, not realising that science itself is much given to change and revision. In this apologetic attitude there is a tacit acknowledgement that truth is an exclusive monopoly of science and anything not confirmed by the empirical investigation of science is bound to be untrue. We are hardly aware that this attitude is not doing any service to religion and, more precisely, by vindicating religion through science we are not providing religion very strong bases to rest on. This paper seeks to work out answers to questions such as the following: How much, if any, of the current scientific lore constitutes knowledge? What is the extent to which scientific method can effectively reach? Are there matters that science is not competent to deal with? This paper will demonstrate that science, by nature, is falsifiable and amenable to change whereas religion is not given to these changes. The study also proposes to demonstrate that science is not without its inherent limitations and inner contradictions and much of science itself is based upon relativities and contingencies, and that any attempt to make religion conformable to science or vice versa does good neither to science nor to religion.

(ProQuest: ... denotes formula omitted.)

Introduction: The Scientific Factor

Herbert Butterfield, an eminent Cambridge historian, once said that the Scientific Revolution reduced the Renaissance and the Reformation "to the rank of mere episodes," and that it marked "the real origin both of the modern world and of the modern mentality."1 Given the overwhelming importance of science and the scientific worldview obtaining in the modern world it is easy to see what he meant. Today science figures very prominently in our everyday discourse and has come to pervade the entire fabric of human existence. From mythic and ritualistic beginnings, it has developed into one of the greatest and most influential fields of human endeavour. Numerous branches of science investigate almost everything "from China to Peru;"2 and science as a whole shapes the way we understand the universe, our planet, ourselves, and other living things. Organized empirical science provides the most impressive result of human rationality3 and the Scientific Revolution of our time took the world by surprise and relegated all that was unscientific to the realm of skepticism and superstition. This onslaught of science tended to equate religious teachings with false fears and ornamentations of life of no intellectual value. Thanks to this pervading awe of science, religion began to be perceived as a way of responding psychologically to pressures in society. Belief in miracles, and in fact belief in whatever is supernatural was considered to belong to the domain of fantasy. Two factors, in particular, intensified confrontation between science and religion. The first of these was the Industrial Revolution. Never has science been as pervasive and influential as it has been since the Industrial Revolution.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Falsifiability of Science and the Transcendentalism of Religion
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?