He listed what he called as the "similarities" between religion and science:
Both have ubiquitous entities that permeate everything. In religion it is called a god, in science a force. If one wants to know the entity, in religion one prays to find out the "will" of god, while in science, one does experiments to discover the "properties" of the force.When I read this, I scrolled to the bottom of the page to see if it listed the credential of the writer, and it did. "Wolfgang Baer teaches graduate-level courses in Monterey and received his doctorate in physics from the UC Berkeley...." No! He has a Ph.D in physics and still thinks that science cares more about discovering the properties of "the force"? What force? In QM, there's no "force". In fact, in classical mechanics, one can use the Hamiltonian/Lagrangian approach and not deal with forces at all!
And oh, let's not forget one GLARING fact here. In religion, there is no one unique god! In fact, there could also be multiple gods in the same religion! In physics, when a concept is accepted, no matter what religion, society, economic background, social standing, etc. you come from, you use the SAME, IDENTICAL principle! In other words, we all agree on the physical formalism!
Both have the nasty habit of defending embarrassing facts by turning them into features.
This is puzzling. The fact that we have particle accelerators clearly shows that we CAN predict the trajectory of an individual electron. That's how we can design such accelerators. But if the writer is invoking QM and the superposition principle that's inherent in phenomena such as the double slit, then he has it all wrong. This is NOT a matter of physics not being able to predict such a trajectory. It is rather that this is what nature is! Unless he is claiming that there is an underlying description of the physical world that physics either does not understand or have no access to, then he is making an a priori assumption that is based on no physical evidence.
How embarrassing is Mary's conception until it is turned into further proof of God's divine intervention? How embarrassing is our inability to predict the trajectory of an individual electron until uncertainty is elevated to become the cornerstone of modern physics by Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle.
Not only that, since when is the HUP become the "cornerstone of modern physics"? The HUP, despite its name, isn't a "principle". It is a CONSEQUENCE of how we define observable operators and wavefunctions in QM. In other words, many of us use it as a back-of-the-envelope type calculation and very seldom (I don't know of any) use it as a starting point. It isn't that important as far as day-to-day "operations".
In religion, a divine intervention is called a miracle; in science it is called a singularity or an emergent property.
Er.. how is this even the same? A miracle has never been verified. Emergent properties have! Emergent properties just doesn't come out nowhere. Superconductivity didn't just appear for not apparent reason. We can also create those ON DEMAND. So when was the last time one can call in for a miracle?
He then described the "differences" between science and religion. I'll pick just one example here:
The logic of science and religion have opposite starting points, but neither is right nor wrong. The differing starting points are tailored to serve specific domains of applicability. Science has clear advantages in supporting engineers to build and control machines, while religion has advantages when dealing with the human experience of feelings and emotions.
When we apply these belief systems beyond their domain of applicability we run into trouble. Few would seriously pray to God to direct the trajectory of a bullet instead of taking careful aim along the sights. Science clearly dominates in this application.
However, consider a priest who is called to the bedside of a dying patient to provide comfort and hope with a tale of everlasting life. Compare this with a medical establishment that plasters the patients with tubes, needles, and an irrational fear of dying when there is not a shred of scientific evidence that the "first person I" ceases to exist simply because body functions stop. This is like concluding the radio station is dead because one's receiver box quit.
Wow! Where should I even start?
He seems to think that there's a clear boundary between issues that are within the domain of religion, and issues within the domain of science. This is obviously wrong! Religion cannot help but describe the physical and natural world and offer explanations for them. The Genesis is nothing but the creation of the universe and human beings! So he wants cosmology and physics and biology to stay out of such topics? Or does he want the Genesis to be removed completely from the Bible? After all, there is a clear overlap here!
Secondly, he is implicitly invoking the "god of the gaps" here. Here's arguing that where science broke down and offers no explanation, this is where religion comes in. Baloney! Back in the dark ages, there are many phenomena that science and rational understanding could not explain. Various gods and spiritual explanations were used to explain those things, ranging from eclipses, the flooding of the Nile, the explosions of volcanoes, etc. If we buy into this writer's argument, since religion is already the explanation for such things, science has no business going into such areas. But it did and showed why and how these things have a natural and rational explanation. The "god of the gaps" has been shrunk, and continues to shrink. Science may not have any "tale of everlasting life", but this is not a criticism about science. It is more of a criticism about religion for perpetuating such Santa Clause-equivalent to the dying. If all we care about is sedating a dying patient, I hear that morphine can do as good of a job without lying to the patient.
The one thing about science is that we ACKNOWLEDGE the deficiencies and things we do not fully understand. In fact, that is why we continue to have employment in science. Scientists, by definition, studies things that we do not understand, look into new things, and tries to find explanations for things we don't know about. No such thing exists in religion. Scientific knowledge expands and changes as we know more and more. This is not true for religions. Religion, by definition, is "perfect"! When was the last time you hear any preacher preaching things about the various things that his/her religion can't do, or don't have an understanding of, or can't explain? There are so many things stated as FACTS in religions, and even when there's contradiction between religion and science, many still cling to the religious description even when there isn't any shred of evidence to support that.
I don't know what his definition of existing "side-by-side" really means, but I can see both of them existing in separate, parallel universe! :)