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Mystics and some religionists try desperately to unite science and religion. Dave Pruett, a regular contributor to Huffington Post, refers to science and religion as “soulmates, each grounded in the experience of awe.” Pope Francis, in Laudato Si’, laments that technology depicts “nature as an insensate order.” Deepak Chopra, the modern “prophet” of consciousness, claims that “Jesus, the Buddha, and other enlightened sages were scientists” (see here page 6). An op ed in The Wall Street Journal propagandizes that “at its heart, science is faith-based too.” There is even a $1.6-million incentive to lure scholars to the idea of justifying the unification of science and religion.
Evolution is not confined to the physical development of our species. Our intellect also has its evolutionary history. Just as we had a common origin with monkeys in the remote past, science and religion also had a common origin eons ago. While monkeys have developed very little from our common ancestors, homo sapiens have no resemblance to those ancestors. Likewise, while religion has developed very little from its common origin with science, the latter has no resemblance to that origin. What is that common origin? This post shows that science and religion both started as mythology.
Understanding the past commonality of religion and science is crucial for appreciating the present contrast between them. Without considering intellectual evolution, the God of religion becomes an authority whose words are as true as the words of science. On the other hand, studying how science and religion evolved from mythology reveals that God itself evolved — only slightly — from mythical characters, and that mankind created God, not the other way around!
The evolution of religion can be summarized in one sentence:
Religion is mythology with a sociopolitical arm.
What about science? How did it evolve from mythology? The gods of all religions reside in the sky (or on top of a very high mountain peak): Ra, the supreme god of ancient Egypt, rides on the Sun; Brahman, the god of Hinduism, lives above all the celestial bodies; Greek gods traveled between the sky and Mount Olympus; Yahweh lives in the heavens; Jesus rose to heaven to meet his father. There is another human activity connected to the sky: Astronomy, the first science, is the study of objects that reside in the sky. Is there a connection?
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