Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Science And Salvation -

Science And Salvation -
"CAMBRIDGE, Mass. It's hard to picture, if you know him only by his scientific reputation, but E.O. Wilson confesses it freely: He loves watching preachers on television.

Wilson is an internationally renowned biologist who has based his extraordinarily productive five-decade career at that great bastion of secular humanism, Harvard University. At 77, his work and his worldview are so thoroughly entwined with Darwinian theory that they're impossible to imagine without it. His reverence is for the wondrous creatures and intricate interconnections of the natural world, not for any supreme being.

So what's he doing tuning in those evangelical sermons from the megachurches? ..."

In the atheist --> agnostic continuum, Edward O. Wilson, whom I first encountered through his seminal book Sociobiology: The New Synthesis (1975), is about in the middle of a spectrum defined on the hard-core atheistic side by Richard Dawkins and on the softer agnostic end by the late Stephen J. Gould. Gould was willing to accept the religious dimension; just not in his own life. These three great scientists are well-respected and have contributed much to our understanding of the world around us, yet were often in conflict professionally.

It seems too much to ask that E.O. Wilson adopt Gould's understanding that Science and Religion have different sources of authority, and that there should be no conflict between the two, but it is encouraging to see Wilson reaching out to people of faith, whom he feels need to be key players in the environmental movement.

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