Science and reason lead to real knowledge – religion doesn’t

Science is the accumulation of knowledge using objective means in order to understand the history of the natural world and how the natural world works. Observable physical evidence, either from observations of nature or from experiments that try to simulate nature, is the basis of that understanding.

Of course, scientific knowledge changes over time when new evidence becomes available. We can’t know many things with absolute certainty – we only know the observable evidence. However, we can reach the best possible conclusion based on the most complete and modern evidence available. The result is that scientific knowledge is constantly changing and evolving but is proceeding toward a more correct view of the world.

This contrasts strongly with the knowledge claimed by many religious people who claim that they, or a book they endorse, holds all relevant knowledge and that such knowledge is absolutely and unquestionably true. The Bible, for example, is often held up as containing all knowledge, and as being literal and infallible Truth. Some of them will say that the world was created by a certain deity a certain number of years ago. If asked about their level of certainty, these people generally respond that they have absolutely no uncertainty!

Interestingly, many eastern religions are more encouraging of sustained inquiry and less insistent on unquestioning faith than the three major monotheistic religions. The Dalai Lama’s enthusiasm for unfettered scientific study of meditation is an example.