Penguinism and Science

One might ask if Penguinism is antagonistic to science. The answer is a “no” and contrary to common belief, religion and science can cooperate.

For a reminder of why Penguinism is a religion, and what constitutes religion, see “Is Penguinism a Religion?

But what is science? Is science a system of finding the truth? Not so much, but it is one of the only methods of investigating reality that we have, and so long as some basic assumptions that we rely on anyway manage to hold, there’s no reason to reject science. Without getting into too much detail, science is a process of deductive falsification, where we take theory, and try to show that it’s false, by making predictions using the theory. If the predictions continue to hold, and we run out of reasonable options to test the theory, we hold it as true. See “Reforming Science: Applying Philosophy of Science, Design Thinking, and Project Management to Scientific Discovery” for more information on how science works.

Because science is built on falsification, models that are not falsifiable have no meaning in science. They are not taken as false. They are just unknown, and science admits ignorance. Religion, on the other hand, is a system that we use to try to seek answers when there are no other methods. Some people want to have an answer, and that’s fine. So we rely on religion an faith.

Because of the two very different natures of science and religion, instead of being antagonistic to one another, they are in actuality compatible. While someone can choose to only hold onto non-religious positions, and work towards being secular, others are comfortable with accepting as true, things like gods, afterlives, and so on. The independent and yet nonconflicting nature of science and religion is often referred to as “non overlapping magesteria” a term promoted by Stephen Jay Gould.

What does this mean for Penguinism and scientific theory? It means that whenever scientific theory is robust—tested and there are no feasible tests remaining—we accept it as true. That means that we accept gravity, evolution, general concepts of cosmology, including the approximate age of the universe and Earth, the heliocentric model of the solar system, that the Earth is round, and so on.

Abiogenesis, Evolution and Thermodynamics

But doesn’t thermodynamics contradict the existence of life, and evolution? Some argue that because of the second law of thermodynamics, the emergence of life (abiogenesis) and evolution are against the laws of nature. But this is a misunderstanding. The second law of thermodynamics states that entropy, which is largely a way to measure disorder, tends to increase within a closed system. So it seems that life violates entropy, since life is orderly. However, the Earth is not a closed system. It is constantly being bathed with energy from the sun.

When a system is bathed in energy, order can arise, and based on work done by MIT physicist Jeremy England, self replicating patterns that are indicative of life seem to arise naturally from such conditions (Statistical Physics of Self-Replication). But this pressure acts on all levels of order, and therefore may act as a universal selective pressure on evolution (On the Goals and Directions of Evolution). So instead of being antithetical to abiogenesis and evolution, thermodynamics seems to imply them.

Further Reading

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