Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Science and Religion

The Dean of Trinity Cathedral, the Vy. Rev. Nicholas Kniseley is a scientist by training and so devotes a lot of his excellent blog, Entangled States (http://www.entangledstates.com/) to issues of science and religion. This is also an interest of mine, although I am not nearly so qualified, being more of a dilettante and (very) amateur astronomer. Still, discussions of the intersection of the two disciplines always sparks my interest, as did this recent comment from English Rabbi Jonathan Sachs in the London Times. It was reported by Nick and I am reprinting it here:

"Any account of the human condition that reduces the human spirit to an accidental by-product of evolutionary pressures tells less than half the story of who we are. We may be — on this, the Bible and neo-Darwinism agree — ‘dust of the earth’, the reconfigured debris of exploded stars. But within us is the breath of God. Scientists call this ‘emergence’: the process whereby systems of self-organising complexity yield something new, more than the sum of its parts. That is where religion and science both began: when life became conscious, then self-conscious, then able to ask the question: ‘Why?’
The current argument between ‘religion’ and ‘science’ is deeply unnecessary. It involves a caricature of religion and a parody of science. It is structured around a set of absurd oppositions, between science and superstition, reason and revelation, knowledge and wishful thinking, as if scientists and religious believers were incapable of realising the limits of their respective domains. We need both: science to tell us how the world is, religion (and philosophy) to tell us how it ought to be."

1 comment:

James F. McGrath said...

Thanks for sharing this, and in particular for including the concept of emergence.

Since this topic interests you, let me invite you to pay a visit to my own blog at http://exploringourmatrix.blogspot.com/, where a very large number of my recent posts relate to religion and science (since I'm currently teaching a course on the subject).