SCIENCE AND RELIGION by Geoffrey Dobbs

In 1976 biologist, philosopher and social crediter Geoffrey Dobbs presented a paper to a Science and Religion Forum (An expansion of a discussion paper read to the Science and Religion Forum on April 9, 1976, at their meeting at Cumberland Lodge, Windsor Great Park on the theme: Man’s Responsibility for Nature) in which he observed:

“Science shares with religion another dimension, beyond the cerebro-verbal plane of academic philosophy, namely that of the external world, in that its thoughts and symbols must be ‘bound back’, in detail, to an external, non-cerebral, non-verbal, reality.
·       It is of the essence of the scientific method that theory must constantly be checked by observation and experiment.
·       It is of the essence of religion that the professed faith must be put to the test of practice, both on the individual scale, and on the more visible, general, social scale.
·       It is of the essence of words and of symboIs of all sorts, that their connection with the referent is indirect – entirely through the human mind, and hence easily confused or diverted or even inverted.

Hence it is natural enough that a scientist should view with some skepticism and distrust any lengthy or complex verbal process which is not constantly tied back to some observable reality, and to demand of it: “What does this mean in practice?”
And in so far as one applies this to the current state of the world and of our society, it would seem apparent that the currently fashionable and accepted philosophy is widely at variance with reality, and that, wherever else we may look for a correct viewpoint, it cannot be in a direction which could be welcome or acceptable to those who lead the intellectual fashion.
In the important, practical, and everyday meaning of the word, in the sense of a man’s ‘philosophy of life’, everyone, necessarily, has a philosophy, that is, a conception of the nature of things, or of the universe, whether this is extremely simple, very complex and sophisticated, or even confused and wavering. Whatever it is, it determines his objectives, his long-term aims and the action directed thereto, which may be called his ‘policy’ in life, and it is this ‘binding back’ to reality which is probably the most useful meaning to attach to the word ‘religion’.
In this sense the Christian Creeds, for instance, constitute formulations of a ‘philosophy’, as does Marxist-Leninism, or a vacillating agnosticism or humanism, however vaguely formulated. Inevitably, they manifest themselves, individually, and socially where they are widely enough held, in ‘policies’ of action and inaction, and it is the completed whole which constitutes a religion, while the word ‘religation’ (used, e.g., by Coleridge and Gladstone) may serve to designate the process of ‘binding back’ the idea of reality to the actual reality of the world in which we live.
I cannot stress this too strongly. Unless it is realised that every conception of the universe and of man’s place therein must issue in its resultant policy it is not possible even to begin to consider or discuss or compare the validity of different conceptions, or to study the vital process of religation in any detail or with any understanding.
 
If the word ‘religion’ is restricted, as it usually is, to the organised Religions, or to a belief in God, or in the supernatural, those who reject these conceptions and adhere to atheistic, humanist, or materialist beliefs are never challenged to formulate their ideas and to relate them to policy, but are allowed to adopt the pose of persons with no commitment to faith or policy, who claim merely to be pursuing the path of reason.
In fact, the policies which most of these people openly pursue are based upon assumptions about the universe and about man’s place in it which are every whit as much based upon faith as are the more precise statements formulated in the Creeds, and unless the nature of this faith is revealed or exposed, its realization in the world of today cannot be followed or ascertained, its ideas and policies cannot be related, and we cannot even start to escape from our present confusion, or to develop, in the Baconian phrase: “a just familiarity between the mind and things”…”
 
Read “Religation” in full herehttps://www.alor.org/Library/Dobbs%20G%20-%20Religation.pdf

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