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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Breaking the Cease-Fire Between Science and Religion

It's the title of a recent article by David Klinghoffer. I agree with it in principle but I have some disagreements as well.
" (Chris) Mooney chides popular blogger and University of Minnesota biologist P.Z. Myers, an ebullient atheist, for publicly desecrating a Catholic communion wafer — an “incredibly destructive and unnecessary” act, Mooney complains, “exacerbating tension between the scientific community and many American Christians.”
I don't consider the act of idiocy exhibited by Myers to be the act of a "scientist" as much as that of a poorly adjusted, angry, bitter, nihilistic, argumentative internet atheist. That he is a professor of biology is secondary.
"The origins of modern science, from about 1300 onward, were overwhelmingly religious. Isaac Newton regarded the universe “as a cryptogram set by the Almighty,” in John Maynard Keynes’s phrase. Scientists from Copernicus to Kepler, Boyle, Linnaeus, Faraday, Kelvin and Rutherford all sought to understand God through His creation. Because nature was the product of a mind acting freely, it made sense to them to try to understand that mind through its actions."
I notice that there are several apologists that have citing this fact recently. It would appear that their religious beliefs did not hinder and actually inspired their research.
"But remember — alongside the secular Enlightenment view of science, there runs a parallel tradition, seeking to explain nature without preconceptions, secular or otherwise. That way of thinking still exists among individual scientists, though it is in need of a good revival. With that tradition — older, grander, more open-minded, even more enlightened, you could say — there is no need for a truce with faith, no need for a separation, no need for a divorce."
I think that is something we could all agree on, no matter what our worldview. Especially the "open-minded" part.

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