Wednesday, March 09, 2005

US scientist wins religion prize

"Since then, the two fields, especially in areas like quantum mechanics, have been coming together in a less fractious relationship. In a statement, Mr Townes said many people did not realise that science involves faith."

I suppose the philosophically inclined can argue that science requires a sort of faith, but hardly the kind that governs religious thought. Personally, I've never understood the perceived need to wed science and religion. Politically expedient? Sure. But it's fundamentally dishonest, both to scientists and theologians.

This isn't to say that science should refrain from tackling questions thought best left to religion. Quite the opposite. But attempts like the Templeton Prize only create frail, tenuous bridges between the world of faith and the world of understanding. Just because there is a divide doesn't necessarily mean it should be crossed.

8 comments:

Ken Younos said...

I think these guys are playing with words. How are they defining "faith"? If "faith" is defined as an absolute conviction that things are a certain way - then faith is most definitely UNSCIENTIFIC. Copernicus was being scientific when he proposed that the earth revolves around the sun and not vice versa; Christianity was being unscientific when they countered him with the FAITH in a geocentric cosmos. A conviction that is held lightly, with the openness to correction upon further discoveries - as *theory* - is NOT faith (although these guys seem to think that it is). Religion, on the other hand, makes absolute claims to truth which may not be challenged, questioned or contested. To do so would threaten its authority and therefore its very existence. Faith is, in essence, the unconditional trust in/acceptance of religious authority. It is inimical to science by nature.

Mac said...

I know. But this Templeton guy wants to go down in history as some sort of great philanthropist.

Ken Younos said...

I think that the knowlege of things can be approximately approached through science, although such knowledge is always open to further revision. Science is the quest to get an ever clearer, every bigger picture of things as they are.

Ken Younos said...
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Ken Younos said...

These would-be philanthropists are all over the place. Personally, I've learned to just tune them out.

Ken Younos said...
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Ken Younos said...
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W.M. Bear said...

Now I'm waiting for a fundamentalist minister to win a science prize, probably for a creationist "theory." Under the current administration, not all that unlikely!
--WMB