A category to watch out for

Mano Singham noted, in his CHE piece “The New War Between Science and Religion,” that

the National Academy of Sciences have come down squarely on the side of the accommodationists…In a 2008 publication titled Science, Evolution, and Creationism, the NAS stated: “Science and religion are based on different aspects of human experience. … Because they are not a part of nature, supernatural entities cannot be investigated by science. In this sense, science and religion are separate and address aspects of human understanding in different ways.

I notice an omission in that passage – a significant omission. It says supernatural entities cannot be investigated by science, but it doesn’t go on to say that they can be investigated by religion. That’s no suprise in one way, because of course they can’t be, but in another way, it is at least noteworthy, because the truth (also of course) is that supernatural entities cannot be investigated by anyone or anything, so why single out science as the one discipline that cannot investigate them? And why not include religion in that impotence?

Well we know why; no need to be coy. Because that’s the whole point. The whole point is to put up a sign saying No Scientists while allowing religionists free passage, despite the fact that religionists are no more able to explore the unexplorable than anyone else is. The whole point is to pretend that religion knows something that science can’t poke into. The truth however is that supernatural entities are immune to any kind of inquiry or inspection or testing, so nobody knows more about them than anyone else. They are just a big Unknown. The fact that purported supernatural entities are immune to inquiry does not magically (or any other way) make science and religion compatible except in the uncontroversial sense that science and reading novels are compatible.

I think this is a category to watch out for. The Uncompleted Parallel might be the right name for it.

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