THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN RELIGION & SCIENCE
Giant star cluster about two million years old
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
The Smithsonian National Museum Of Natural History has a useful summary of three main positions in the debate between science and religion:
• Conflict - science and religion are seen in competition for cultural authority
• Separation - treats science and religion as two separate areas of human endeavour and belief, each with valid ideas to contribute.
• Interaction - this approach welcomes a dialogue between scientific and religious approaches to major questions of life and death – in particular between creationist and evolutionary theories about the origins of the world and human beings.
The National Committee of The American Academy of Science produced a statement in 1999 entitled: The Origin of the Universe, Earth, and Life. It also represents a balanced view of the arguments on both sides of the debate which can be viewed below.
National Geographic News October 18, 2004 carried a report entitled:
“Evolution and Religion Can Coexist, Scientists Say”. It begins by quoting Albert Einstein: "Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind."
All three sources take a balanced view and contain useful information to show that to be a scientist does not lead to the conclusion that God does not exist. Equally, to believe in God does not preclude the value in seeking to discover more about how the universe works and was created.
The article quotes Brian Greene, a world-renowned physicist and author of The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality.
"There's no way that scientists can ever rule out religion, or even have anything significant to say about the abstract idea of a divine creator."
Greene maintains science and religion can (?do actually?) operate in different realms. "Science is very good at answering the 'how' questions. How did the universe evolve to the form that we see? But it is woefully inadequate in addressing the 'why' questions. Why is there a universe at all? These are the meaning questions, which many people think religion is particularly good at dealing with."
Francis Collins is the former Director of the Human Genome Project