A Short Note For College Students
With this short note, I simply want to make you aware that it IS possible
to be both a believer in a religious faith and a scientist who agrees with
the evidence of an old Earth and universe (billions of years old) and that
and changed through the process of evolution-natural selection (including "macro-evolution").
The debates over Intelligent Design or the teaching of young Earth creationism
in science classes may make it seem like those who oppose the teaching of Intelligent
Design or creationism are anti-God. That is certainly what most believers in
I.D. or young-Earth creationism say about those who disagree with them. However,
that is simply not true. To be against Intelligent Design or young-Earth creationism
is NOT anti-God. There are literally millions of people with advanced science
training who are devout, active believers of their religion (mostly Christianity
for those in the U.S.A.). Even the two main proponents of Intelligent
Design, Michael Behe and William Dembski, agree that the Earth is billions
of years old and that some evolution has happened (they do not think, however,
that evolution can explain all of the developments of life). There are millions
of science-trained, active believers of a religious faith who do believe
that natural evolution
can explain all of the developments of life; even that evolution is
the ongoing creation of God. See Elaine Howard Ecklund's book "Science vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think" for a recent survey (year 2010) of research scientists mostly at top research universities.
The short articles in the science and religion section of the Astronomy Notes
website will show you another way to view the interaction of science and religion
in finding truth about the world.
Some books that will show you an alternate way that accepts both the truth
of modern science and religious faith in God are:
- John Polkinghorne and Nicholas Beale, Questions of Truth: Fifty-one Responses to Questions about God, Science, and Belief (2009. Westminster John Knox Press). ISBN-10: 0-664-23351-1 and ISBN-13: 978-0-66423351-8. Polkinghorne was a professor of mathematical physics at Cambridge University before being ordained as a priest in the Church of England. Beale is a social philosopher and long-time collaborator with Polkinghorne. Major areas of the book include: the concept and existence of God (great responses/rebuttals of the Dawkins crowd), the universe, evolution, evil, human being, and religion.
- David Wilcox, God and Evolution: A Faith-Based Understanding (2004.
Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press). ISBN-10: 0817014748 and ISBN-13: 978-0817014742.
David Wilcox is in the biology faculty at Eastern University.
- Francis Collins, The Language of God (2007. Free
Press). ISBN-10: 1416542744 and ISBN-13: 978-1416542742 (for the
paperback). The hardback came out in 2006. Collins headed the Human Genome
Project and is an evangelical Christian. An earlier article "Can
an Evangelical Believe in Evolution?" introduces Collins
view of how the scientific and religious world views are complementary. The
article PDF is dated 2003 and it will appear in a new window. A local
copy of the PDF is available here.
- Jean Staune, ed. Science and the Search for Meaning: Perspectives
from International Scientists (2006. Templeton Foundation
Press). ISBN-10: 1-59947-102-7 and ISBN-13: 978-1-59947-102-0. Christian,
Islamic, Buddhist, and Hindu are among the faiths represented by the
research scientists who wrote essays for this book.
Some other web resources created by those who mesh their religious and scientific
views without compromising the truths of either are given below. Yes, this
list is certainly
just a start! The links will appear in a new window.
- John Polkinghorne Q & A. People submit questions and Nicholas Beale and John Polkinghorne post their responses. Their "Questions of Truth" book (see above) was derived from the Q & A on the site.
- The John Templeton Foundation's "Big Questions" site has posted essay compilations from scientists, theologians, philosophers, and writers answering questions such as "Does science make belief in God obsolete?", "Does the universe have a purpose?", "Does evolution explain human nature?". Each essay is about 1.5 to 2 pages long and are freely available as PDF downloads.
Fish Wars" by Wendee
Holtcamp is a Lutheran and was a community college biology instructor. I
especially appreciate where she points out that the Apostles Creed
God created the world and everything in it, not the methods God uses
to create and sustain life. Link
to copy on the American Scientific Affiiliation's website.
- "Integrating Faith and Science" by Linda Schwab, professor of Chemistry
Integration of Faith and Science" by Margaret Flowers, professor
of Biology. The two articles are found on the same webpage of the ASA's website.
We Have a Separation of Church and Science?" audio
link from the August 4, 2006 episode of NPR's Talk of the Nation with guests
Francis Collins and Own Gingerich, retired professor of astronomy and
history of science.
- The Speaking
of Faith radio series hosted by Krista Tippett has had several
broadcasts about the interaction of faith and science that included non-Christian
perspectives with Christian perspectives. For example, see (and listen to!)
Purpose and Truth" (Jan 10, 2008)
- "The Heart's Reason: Hinduism and Science" (Nov 22, 2007)
- "Beyond the Atheism-Religion Divide" (Oct 18, 2007)
- "Evolution and Wonder: Understanding Charles Darwin" (Sept 20, 2007)
- "Science and Hope" (May 10, 2007)
- "Einstein's God" (Mar 8, 2007)
Biology of the Spirit" (Jan 18, 2007)
Organizations Focusing on Meshing Science and Religion
This is admittedly incomplete list but here are ones I've looked into.
- John Templeton Foundation
- The AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER). The DoSER had a recent (15-Dec-2010) session on an assessment of how science and religion get along. Elaine Howard Ecklund (sociologist) and Barbara Bradley Hagerty (NPR journalist) talk about how scientists and journalists approach religion. They both noted that the interplay between science and religion is more nuanced than how it is characterized in the popular media. Video link (don't rely on just the summary description page)
- WesleyNexus -- dialogue among clergy, academics, and lay persons about the meshing of science and religion within the Wesleyan tradition in the 21st century.
- American Scientific Affiliation: A Fellowship
of Christians in Science.
January 15, 2011
Author of original content: Nick