Since Chris and Jerry are back to religion, I’m reminded of my first foray into into the blogosphere in early 2007 when I discussed the topic. A subsequent storm of comments raged on for weeks over several posts. Initial argument persisted over terminology, but ultimately the conversation eroded into an inquisition over what I personally believe instead of a productive dialogue on science and religion. These days I don’t typically explore the relationship here because it mainly serves as sport and spectacle on the blogs. Still, Chris’ post today inspired me to look back at the words I wrote during my first week at The Intersection–re-posted after the fold. Upon reading again, I see that though my writing style has changed over the years, the point is just as relevant now…
Several folks have emailed asking why I’ve yet to write about RELIGION. Simply put, what I believe is that faith has no place in science. Will someone please stand up and explain the circular argument, the rhetoric, the tomfoolery and fiddlesticks that is the age old debate on how these two worlds converge? Convince me, and I’m ready and waiting at my laptop to jump in.
I admit I’m no expert here. Although I studied religion as a Classics major, my perspectives are predominantly influenced by an inundation of our own cultural norms, societal movements, American education, and the art of Groening and MacFarlane. Regardless, I don’t think a true savant could possibly exist on the topic given that belief is just that: FAITH. It need not be proven nor understood by anyone other than the individual holding it. What is fascinating to consider in the discussion is how religion currently shapes life on this planet with arguably every bit as much force as the biological processes driving evolution, adaptation, and extinction.
Sometimes I wonder whether my interest in Complex Adaptive Systems theory could be considered a religious undertaking. I’m certain it’s possible to argue so. Carl Sagan and I are both intrigued by π and whether meaningful significance may be hidden within the sequence. Along the same lines, when I look to nature and consider derivable patterns in branching trees and dendrites, migration processes, fish and flock behavior, and symbiotic relationships evolving over time, I’m left feeling as if there’s something to all this math. Detecting observable order out of chaos begs the questions: 1) Is the universe ‘constructed’ so that it ascribes to specified geometrical axioms? 2) If so, do these relationships result in early trajectories forward? 3) If single points of origin determine where we came from, are they concurrently acting upon where we are headed?
It’s certainly starting to sound as if I’m invoking that old ‘intelligent watchmaker’ analogy, doesn’t it? I’m not. In fact, I’m choosing to refrain from touching on my beliefs or lack there of altogether. It’s of no significance here or in science.
What I know for sure is that no matter what you believe, invoking the “F” word [by pitting science and religion against one other] often provides justification for nearly 99% of the planet to tune you out. Regardless of evidence you think you have, it’s a loosing battle as soon as you threaten someone’s fundamental beliefs. Instead, our responsibility in this field is to engage everyone to think for them self, ask why, and be open to explore new ideas. Scientist need not equate with Godlessness. Period.