Thursday, September 29, 2005

Agreeing Only to Disagree on God's Place in Science - New York Times

Agreeing Only to Disagree on God's Place in Science - New York Times:
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"It was on the second day at Cambridge that enlightenment dawned in the form of a testy exchange between a zoologist and a paleontologist, Richard Dawkins and Simon Conway Morris. Their bone of contention was one that scholars have been gnawing on since the days of Aquinas: whether an understanding of the universe and its glories requires the hypothesis of a God...."

Of course scientific inquiry does not require a belief in God, but on the other hand, belief in God does not undermine a scientist's ability to conduct valid research.

This story describes a two-week meeting hosted by the John Templeton Foundation which is dedicated to "to pursue new insights at the boundary between theology and science." It presupposes that science and religion are synergistic, which raises questions as to how Richard Dawkins, an avowed atheist whose antipathy toward mixing science and faith is well-known, could participate effectively. The Templeton Prizes, by its own guidelines, are not awarded for "approaches that erect walls between religion and science and begin with the assumption that they should never have anything to do with each other."

The reporting of this conference leaves me with the impression that the conversations were fairly civil and productive. Even Dawkins, for the most part, laid aside his more intemperate opinions to engage in dialogue.

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