Many intellectuals or scientists figure neither of intellectualism nor scientific thought are compatible with religion. Within context of hypothesized incompatibility, intellectualism and science stand for reason, reasoning, or evidence. Religion, it stands for superstition. In presence of hypothesized incompatibility, religiosity belies belief in the superstitious, cannot simultaneously be combined with depth and breadth of intellectual or scientific thought.
In Mathematics, in presence of one extremely significant contradiction, a principle cannot be stated to be a general principle. Suppose for instance that a person asserts “all American Presidents are war hawks.” In presence of a recent President, Jimmy Carter (currently the oldest living ex President of the USA), who clearly and unambiguously was not a war hawk, we are able to conclude that the assertion, “all American Presidents are war hawks” cannot be held to be a general principle.
If we apply outlined general principle, in presence of persons such as Isaac Newton, Marie Curie, Robert Boyle, Francis Bacon, the Frenchman Meric Casaubon, etc., it is factual that historically, religiosity has been combined with depth of intellectualism, and orientation towards reason, reasoning, and assertions that either are reasoned, or are rooted in evidence. In presence of the extreme nature of the evidence — some of the most accomplished scientists who ever have lived — we arrive at a quandary, which is, how exactly to reconcile religiosity with depth and breadth of intellectual thought, with belief in power of reason, reasoning, and evidence over superstition.
If we are to arrive at a reconciliation, we perhaps critically consider the meaning of the words, ‘religion’ and ‘religious’.
By definition, religion implies a system of beliefs, a way of life, implies religiosity. Within this context, each of Theism and Atheism produce religion, produce ways of life. We find then that a way of life can be rooted in well thought out concepts and principles, need not connote belief in superstition.
But is belief in God tantamount to belief in superstition? If belief in God is asserted to be tantamount to belief in superstition, we run into yet another quandary. The quandary consists in the fact that if belief in existence of God is superstition, so also is belief in the big bang theory as origin of life — neither can be proved as fact by laws of science.
Given laws of science provide support for existence of God (as has been attested to by many non-theistic scientists), and given some scientists believe laws of science allude to occurrence of a big bang at some origin point in time, on basis of the available evidence, neither of belief in God nor belief in the big bang can be stated to be superstition. Importantly, we arrive at the conclusion that religiosity does not necessarily imply proneness to superstition.
Religiosity does not necessarily imply belief in superstition. Belief in existence of God cannot be proved by laws of science, but then neither can the big bang theory. Both theories can be reasoned using laws of science, however, meaning neither falls in realm of superstition.
Based on laws of science, it is reasonable to believe in existence of God. While he did not believe God can be known, for Albert Einstein the scientific evidence for existence of God was unambiguous, pointed clearly to existence of God.
The term ‘religious’ can connote susceptibility to superstition. This, however, need not necessarily be the case. By definition, a religious person simply can believe in existence of deity.
Suppose, however, that religiosity reduces to allegiance to rules specified by others, with outcome there is abdication of reason or reasoning for arrival at religiosity. Within this niche interpretation of the term religious, religiosity devolves into superstition — the belief that one must accept directives of religious leaders without question; the belief that a person’s welfare depends on unreasoning fidelity to directives of religious leaders. Unreasoning fidelity to directives of religious leaders is source of religious extremism that maims and kills in the name of religion.
In presence of the evidence, the hypothesis that neither of intellectualism nor scientific thought are compatible with religiosity is rooted in the misconception that belief in God is evidence for belief in superstition. In short order then we discover that characterization of religion or religiosity as belief in superstition is normatively and unambiguously erroneous, misleading.
We conclude that Isaac Newton, Marie Curie, Francis Bacon, Meric Casaubon, and Robert Boyle all credibly could combine intellectualism and scientific reasoning with religiosity, with reasoning belief in existence of God.
With respect to scientific evidence for existence of God, we need look no further than that most precious of substances, water. Man knows the formula for water, can produce water in the laboratory, but cannot produce water fit for drinking.
While naturally occurring water is produced at normal temperatures in the atmosphere, water can be produced in the laboratory only at extremely high temperatures, temperatures at which resulting ‘artificial’ water lacks nutritive life giving rehydrating quality of naturally occurring water.
Note that if you boil water long enough it loses it’s natural nutritive taste, meaning it no longer embeds it’s naturally occurring rehydrating quality. Loss of nutrients from protracted boiling of water is the reason nursing mothers are advised not to adopt distilled water in mixing of cereals for nursing infants. The potential for loss of nutrients also is rationale for invention of the electric kettle — the electric kettle reduces risk of over heating water to the point it loses most of it’s rehydrating quality.
In presence of the fact that water produced at extremely high temperatures lacks rehydrating properties of naturally occurring water, it is unlikely that water is outcome of a ‘big bang’ explosion. While a big bang explosion cannot be totally ruled out, there would have to be another significant event that infuses water with it’s rehydrating properties. This event would have to be extremely significant, would have to alter the atmosphere of earth for production of rain and the water cycle — the process that replenishes the stock of rehydrating naturally occurring water on earth.
With the clarifying realization that religiosity is not necessarily evidence for belief in superstition, we safely conclude that were you to be interested in religion, all that is important is that you keep your thinking cap on, be willing to reason things out, be willing to believe only that which you find to be reasonable. For proper functioning of life, no reasonable person ever demands proof for everything. For moving forward on some things in life, reasonableness is the only target not hard proof.
Reasonableness of courses of action is foundation of the well ordered scientifically intellectual mind and life. Reasonableness also is cornerstone of religiosity that does not abandon either of intelligence or wisdom for arrival at a way of life.