Saturday, June 27, 2009

Religion Must Accommodate Science

There is an excellent article in the Wall Street Journal by Lawrence Krauss called, "God and Science Don't Mix." Krauss relates that while at the World Science Festival he was asked to be on a panel called ""Science, Faith and Religion." Although he agreed, his first thought was
I saw no reason to have it. After all, there was no panel on science and astrology, or science and witchcraft. So why one on science and religion?
The whole article is worth reading, but Krauss makes this key point.
Though the scientific process may be compatible with the vague idea of some relaxed deity who merely established the universe and let it proceed from there, it is in fact rationally incompatible with the detailed tenets of most of the world's organized religions.
I'm not sure how anyone can effectively argue against that statement, with one exception. It is possible for a scientist to hold religious beliefs contrary to scientific reality, if they work in an unrelated field that is not affected by those views. If you are a scientist you can also be religious. But if science conflicts with your religious beliefs, you must either compartmentalize your faith so that it doesn't affect your work, or find a way to accommodate your religion to science. If instead you attempt to make science fit your religion, you cease to be a scientist in the true sense of the word. 

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