Carmen Rasmusen Herbert: Is science trying to replace God?

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  • BaneOfHedgehog Bothell, WA
    Aug. 6, 2013 8:27 a.m.

    Ah, the arrogance of man (again)...

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    July 15, 2013 9:43 a.m.

    @Twin Lights – “True leadership brings empathy.”

    Those are good points and I’ll take you at your word since I am not a churchgoer.

    And your quote here I think hits the nail squarely on the head and it what I and many others find so repulsive. There seems to be a coarseness and almost total lack of empathy with many on the Right these days.

    For a long time I’ve thought it strange that many religious people have aligned themselves with the political Right, since there would seem to be as many passages in the Bible that would resonate with left-leaners as right-leaners.

    And if we look strictly at Jesus – ya know, the hippie who hung out undesirables – his seemingly boundless reservoir of empathy is something I find much more on the Left than Right.

    Thanks again for setting me straight and the good discussion…

  • Mike H. San Jose, CA
    July 13, 2013 6:58 p.m.

    "But I also believe there is an ethical and spiritual limit to what we as mortals can and should do when it comes to creating a family."

    Where do you draw the limits? My grandmother had a serious vitamin B12 deficiency, a few years before that vitamin was discovered. She only had 2 children that lived. Many of the children she had that were stillborn or miscarried likely would have been full term, if vitamin B12 was known about in that era.

    Is solving simple fertility solutions playing God?

  • Kass SLC, UT
    July 13, 2013 5:48 p.m.

    @ Sharrona: Jews do not recognize Jesus as the God of the Old Testament. They do not recognize the New Testament as being the Word of God.

    When you state your belief that Jesus and the God of the Old Testament are one and the same, you are placing your beliefs above the beliefs of others.

    Why should your beliefs have precedent over the beliefs of others?

    @ RBB: Yes, as science understands more about how the world works, it is revised to reflect that greater knowledge and understanding. Why is that a bad thing?

    @ G L W8: The majority of bitter angst on this thread is from the religious directed towards the non-religious.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    July 13, 2013 9:08 a.m.

    Tyler D,

    I would have responded earlier but I missed your post.

    First, thank you.

    Second, as to science and the LDS - I think the official church position is generally more open than some members. There is variance.

    As to religion being “pompous, sanctimonious, ignorant, self-righteous and most of all hypocritical”, no argument this would be repulsive. I think the problem is we often associate religion with the most political of its proponents. Also, my own experience has been that some of the most sanctimonious and hypocritical are really kind of at the fringes of their respective churches. Those in the trenches, serving people and doing what they can to help others have little time for criticism and generally learn that we all have challenges. Service begets understanding.

    I had a Stake President tell me once (and I have since spoken to others who have confirmed the same) that they have sat in church disciplinary councils and thought “there but for the grace of God go I”. When I was young, I was kind of appalled. As I age, I think I understand. True leadership brings empathy.

  • RBB Sandy, UT
    July 13, 2013 7:35 a.m.

    And how many times has "science" disproved science. That is all application of the scientific method does. It disproves things. Though I have scientific training and work in the realms of science everyday, I choose to believe because of what I see. Teenagers taking time out on a routine basis to help other people, exercising control ovet their desires, taking 2 years off to go teach others about their beliefs. People who donate time and regulate their conduct for the betterment of society. Ultimately, there may not be a God, but based on what I see in most true believers - God is the safe way to bet.

    And if all of us are wrong about God, what is the consequence? Generally happy people who help others, who belive life has meaning and exert their energy making a better community. I can live with those consequences if I am wrong.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    July 12, 2013 7:53 p.m.

    RE: Tyler D, “ Sagan” vs, the creationists A.E. Wilder-Smith who had three science doctorates. Around 1994, I was headed for the debate at U of Irvine Ca., but it was canceled do to Sagan’s illness.

    Gary Habermas had debated Antony Flew years ealier. In 2004, Biola University's Christian Philosophy journal, Flew reversed his long-standing espousal of atheism by endorsing deistic theism. There is hope for you.

    @Kalindra, Jesus is the God of the O.T. and N.T..

    God said unto Moses,” I am “(the BEING) )HE WHO IS: and he said, … say unto the children of Israel, HE WHO IS hath sent me unto you. (LXX Exodus 3:14)

    I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is( The one Being), and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” Rev 1:8

    (John 1:1),In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word(Jesus) was God.

    Joel 2:32a it says that whoever calls upon the Name of the LORD (Yahweh) will be saved. See, Acts 2:21, and Romans 10:13.

    July 12, 2013 4:31 p.m.

    A scientist: what brand of science will "open the eyes of the blinded?" Pure science is based on a solid empirical foundation, while social sciences are a hodge-podge mixture of fact, theory, extrapolated conclusions based on conjecture, and always subject to revision by updated research. No thanks, I'd rather place my faith in revealed truth!

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    July 12, 2013 2:33 p.m.

    A Scientist,

    From George Albert Smith’s letter to Dr. Raymond Cope on this issue:

    I am pleased to assure you that you are right in your attitude that the passage quoted does not express the true position of the Church. Even to imply that members of the Church are not to do their own thinking is grossly to misrepresent the true ideal of the Church, which is that every individual must obtain for himself a testimony of the truth of the Gospel, must, through the redemption of Jesus Christ, work out his own salvation, and is personally responsible to His Maker for his individual acts. The Lord Himself does not attempt coercion in His desire and effort to give peace and salvation to His children. He gives the principles of life and true progress, but leaves every person free to choose or to reject His teachings. This plan the Authorities of the Church try to follow.

    The Prophet Joseph Smith once said: “I want liberty of thinking and believing as I please.” This liberty he and his successors in the leadership of the Church have granted to every other member thereof.

    See FAIR for complete letter.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    July 12, 2013 1:43 p.m.

    RanchHand wrote:

    "@Fred; I think, therefore I am."

    Unfortunately, too many Latter-day Saints today continue to believe the sentiment expressed in the June 1945 Improvement Era, part of a Ward Teachers’ message:

    "When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done. When they propose a plan–it is God’s plan. When they point the way, there is no other which is safe. When they give direction, it should mark the end of controversy. God works in no other way. To think otherwise, without immediate repentance, may cost one his faith, may destroy his testimony, and leave him a stranger to the kingdom of God."

    And the corollary to your Cartesian syllogism is that many on this comment section must not exist...

    Science will never replace god. Science will only open the eyes of those blinded by the scales of false belief.

    July 12, 2013 11:38 a.m.

    If the bitter angst coming out of all these anti-god, anti-religion people is representative of all non-believers, I'll take Carmen's soft voice over the lot of them!

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 12, 2013 10:24 a.m.

    @ Sharrona: Why the Judeo/Christian/Islamic God? Why not Buddhist, Taoist, Hindu, Pagan, Confucian, or other religions/belief systems sacred being(s)? Why not Zeus or Jupiter? Why not the Flying Spaghetti Monster, for that matter?

    And as long as we are talking the Judeo/Christian/Islamic God, are we talking the Judeo (Old Testament) God, the Christian (New Testament) God, or the Islamic (Koran) God? Are we talking the God who supports killing those not of your faith and enslaving your neighbors or the milder turn-the-other-cheek God?

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    July 11, 2013 5:56 p.m.


    I don’t give much credence to the opinions of a drug addicted French pessimist. I’m more in the camp of Spinoza, Hume, Jefferson and Carl Sagan… pretty optimistic guys who lived meaningful lives.

    @Twin Lights – “Tyler D – I am kind of surprised…”

    I’ve always respected your opinions so let me just say that I have little argument with the type of religion you have always espoused. [And if I’m not mistaken, the LDS Church is very pro-science yes? If so, then some of the DN commentators seem more in sync with Evangelicals than they do with their own religion. And wasn’t Romney the only R candidate who believed in evolution?]

    What bothers me is religion that is pompous, sanctimonious, ignorant, self-righteous and most of all hypocritical. And frankly given the rise of the Religious Right, we’re now seeing all this on steroids lately and it’s pretty repulsive.

    These “Scribes and Pharisees” deserve to be taken down a few pegs, wouldn’t you agree? And perhaps Jesus would too since he did it quite a bit.


  • sharrona layton, UT
    July 11, 2013 5:09 p.m.

    RE: Kalindra, your point would be what? The(Judeo/Christian)being of God, who by definition is the uncreated creator of all else. For in him we live and move and have our Being...(Acts 17:28)Creation is dependent on God for it’s very existence.
    Hitler’s god, man did find God he created him a *Superman. Nietzsche influenced Hitler’s, Mein Kampf.

    RE: Skeptic, if there be not a god I do not know?
    General revelation is the revelation that God gives to all people, sinner or saint, in creation. The created order clearly and loudly tells all men about God’s power and divine nature (1:20).But though all men clearly know there is a God, they do not honor or give thanks to Him (1:21).
    The fall into sin has caused mankind to ignore and deny their Creator. Sin has affected our minds and causes our thinking to become futile apart from Christ.

    This effect of sin upon our minds is known in theology as the “noetic effects of sin.”… No one comes to the Father except through me.(John 14:6)

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    July 11, 2013 2:25 p.m.

    First, let me just say that all of this science vs. God stuff is just nonsense. Science is simply the observation of the world and universe. If God is the creator, then science simply tracks his work methods.

    Second, I assume that atheists come in all varieties. Happy, sad and most somewhere in between. Why? Because they are just people.

    Third, God does not provide us with value but does reveal the truth of our value. Something that is always a bit surprising to me.

    Fourth, I would steer away from the great mass murderers of the last century as being archetypes for atheists generally. Though most did not believe in God, that was not necessarily their primary driver.

    Fourth, Tyler D – I am kind of surprised. “replace all the Prophets, Preachers, and other Pious men of God with Scientists”. What an extraordinarily dull world. Scientists are the accountants of time and space. Prophets are its poets. Generation after generation find something more in the human spirit than what our best science can tell us. Religion speaks to that and to the nature of man.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    July 11, 2013 12:53 p.m.

    RE ; Sharrona
    If there be, or if there be not a god I do not know, nor do you know, nor does any one else know. So the question becomes; is believing in something that may or may no be make a difference to reality. If one's believing in something makes it a virtual reality to themselves does it matter to the whole of humanity. Is each and everyone's virtual reality his/her own god; or is there supposedly only one god. If so why is there no uniformity in content of belief.

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 11, 2013 12:25 p.m.

    na: And your point would be what? That some people are hopeless and see no value without God? That although Hitler's favorite philosopher did not believe in God, Hitler did and did atrocious things anyway?

    Again - non sequiturs. They mean nothing and prove nothing.

    Additionally, they are off topic. None of the people you have quoted are scientists - none of them are trying to use science to replace God.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    July 11, 2013 11:13 a.m.

    RE: Tyler D..given the number of atheists/agnostics who lead meaningful, happy and productive lives??
    JP Sarte on the nature of freedom with a world without God. Man is free ,doomed to be free, sentenced to total freedom. Man is alone, but worse than alone he is totally unnecessary. His existence is superfluous gratuitous in a world which there is no reason for anything.
    There is no reason why a man should choose to marry than remain celibate, no reason why a man should love rather than hate, no reason why a man should choose to feed and care for a child rather than snuff out that child’s existence , no reason a man choose to go on live instead of killing himself. Ultimately, there is no reason for any action. For Sarte there are no values that man finds embedded in the nature of things, no knowledge of good and evil. . Sarte… continues to give a powerful description of a world without God.

    Kalindra, on“Values “. Friedrich Nietzsche, Man is free from God’s,thou shalt not. ”God has been put to death”. Adolphs Hitler’s favorite philosopher.

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 11, 2013 10:34 a.m.

    @ Sharrona: Your story is non sequitur - many who believe in God commit suicide, your conclusion that it is driven by a lack of belief in the future is faulty.

    Additionally, many find daily value in the world around them without being told their only value is based on belief in a deity.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    July 11, 2013 8:59 a.m.

    @the truth – “true science must be part of God… Ascertaining what is true science and what is just philosophies of men is the real test of discernment.”

    That may be (Spinoza thought so) – but if so, isn’t about time we replace all the Prophets, Preachers, and other Pious men of God with Scientists since given the historical track record it would appear that scientists are by far the best equipped for discerning “true science?”

    @Bandersen – “If you don't believe in God, government becomes the answer.”

    Curious - is this false dichotomy something you need to tell yourself in order to keep believing?

    @sharrona – “people who think life is utterly pointless and meaningless, but few are willing to take this belief to its logical conclusion — like Ernest Hemingway did.”

    Even if this were true – which is doubtful given the number of atheists/agnostics who lead meaningful, happy and productive lives; not to mention the fact that Hemingway suffered from untreated and self-medicated (alcohol) clinical depression – it does not prove any of the truth claims of religion (again, claims which get smaller in number by the day given modern science).

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    July 11, 2013 8:46 a.m.

    Religion is superstition and fictitious belief; sience is nature and discovery of truth. God is nature.

  • Wastintime Los Angeles, CA
    July 11, 2013 6:00 a.m.

    A more important question may perhaps be are religions trying to replace science?

    When coalitions of churches sign petitions objecting to measures that will improve womens' health, one has to wonder.

  • Church member North Salt Lake, UT
    July 10, 2013 10:19 p.m.

    @ the truth

    I think what Tyler is trying to say is: why are religions wrong so often about things. When you look into any religion for very long you find teachings that we now know are not true. And why is it usually science that finally proves religion was wrong? Shouldn't religions be the first to know about "truth" since they have a special line to God? It seems like sometimes religions are the last to get the truth, when they should be the first (if they were really talking to God).

  • sharrona layton, UT
    July 10, 2013 8:04 p.m.

    RE: RanchHand, God doesn't exist, Carmen, so there's nothing to "replace".

    There are many people who think life is utterly pointless and meaningless, but few are willing to take this belief to its logical conclusion — like Ernest Hemingway did. After years of saying and writing about how life is without meaning and that the only edge we have over death is the choice of when, where, and how, Hemingway got up in the early morning hours of July 2, 1962, and committed suicide.
    The utter meaninglessness of life from an earthbound perspective that does not take into account the creator God is one of the main points of the book of Ecclesiastes. Again and again, the Preacher contrasts life “under the sun” with “life under heaven,” the former referring to the perspective that looks at everything and concludes that the only thing that exists is what is visible to the human eye. Only the existence of the transcendent God can provide us with any meaning. Life lived with reference to Him — under heaven — is never an exercise in futility.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    July 10, 2013 7:18 p.m.

    It ain't what a man knows that hurts him, its what he knows that just ain't so. Noah was laughed and ridiculed for 108 years. Then it started to rain. If you can figure out how someone feels about God and life, it's a sure bet that you will know how they will vote on other issues, all 'government' answers. If you don't believe in God, government becomes the answer. I find it ironic that those who don't believe in God are the first to look for another master somewhere else and hyperventilate when someone even mentions that they would do just fine without their 'God'. Their job, distant 'friends', unproven ideas, and theoretical philosophies become the path leading to old age and a life strangely unfamiliar with what is real. Those who leave religion are mostly bitter about it, while those who stick with it find peace. I don't find that coincidental at all. It is qualitative research that deserves to be noted. Rather than being delusional, I find people of faith have spent a good deal of time wrestling with reality in a way the non-believer hasn't even scratched the surface.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    July 10, 2013 6:04 p.m.

    @Tyler D

    If there is a God would not God be the God of science as well?

    If all truth is of God, and science is part of truth, then true science must be part of God.

    True science can not replace science, but only confirm Godliness, it is fallible and deceitful men that are trying to replace God, and it has been wicked men that has denied true science.

    Ascertaining what is true science and what is just philosophies of men is the real test of discernment.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    July 10, 2013 4:37 p.m.

    God may or may not exist… I don’t know. But what I don’t believe for one second is that there has ever been a human being alive who has received knowledge from God (via revelation, stone tablets, gold plates, whatever…) about the objective (i.e., natural) world.

    Can I prove it… no (although the burden of proof is not on me). But the evidence against it is overwhelming as the following two questions should make clear.

    1 - Name something for which we once had a scientific explanation, but has now been supplanted by a better religious explanation?

    2 - Name something(s) for which we once had a religious explanation, but has now been supplanted by a better scientific explanation?

    If this were a tennis match, science would be ahead of religion by a score of 6-0, 6-0, 5-0 (and serving at 40 – love) – of course leaving open the possibility that religion could still hit a return winner on the next point.

  • Mark from Montana Aurora, CO
    July 10, 2013 3:15 p.m.

    I am curious RanchHand how you know there is no God. Did someone tell you that God does not exist? If so, who?

    I am not asking for proof He exists, but for your proof he does not exist. You seem so sure, that I figure you have proof.

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 10, 2013 3:06 p.m.

    Science is not trying to replace God - and for the true believers, science couldn't even if it was trying.

    Science can create a world where it is easier for families to be formed. Science can create a world where every child born is wanted. Science can create a world where pregnancy and childbirth are safer for the mom and the baby.

    But unless you think the only role of God is birthing babies, science won't be replacing God even in a billion years.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    July 10, 2013 3:00 p.m.


    I think, therefore I am.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    July 10, 2013 9:26 a.m.

    A billion tears is a long way out to be a major current concern. A billion years from now man will have evolved to meet the challenges ,and this era of man will have been long forgotten . Buy just in case make sure your food storage is up to date.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    July 10, 2013 8:56 a.m.

    God doesn't exist, Carmen, so there's nothing to "replace".