Faith and Science

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CC image courtesy x-ray delta one on flickr

I’ve got a bit of a thing for science, especially anthropology.  There is something about studying human beings from the objective viewpoint of the scientist that deeply appeals to me, maybe because I’ve always had to study and learn things about people that others understand subconsciously.  This fascination with anthropology is something that will probably come up from time to time on this blog.  And so, inevitably, will my faith.  I am a Christian.   I also accept the theory of evolution and believe the earth to be around 4.5 billion years old.  

Our culture increasingly holds these beliefs to be mutually exclusive.  It’s unfortunate, because it causes so many people with a passion for science to become hardened against religion, and so many intelligent people of faith to be deprived of a decent science education.   

Properly understood, faith and science complement on another.  To quote Darth Vader, “there is no conflict.”  Science is an extremely valuable tool we can use to understand the physical world.  Faith gives us an idea as to why it exists in the first place.  The problem comes when one tries to encroach on the other, when we turn science into philosophy and the Bible into a science textbook.  It does a disservice to both. 

As usual, G.K Chesterton said it far better than I could:

“In these days we are accused of attacking science because we want it to be scientific. Surely there is not any undue disrespect to our doctor in saying that he is our doctor, not our priest, or our wife, or ourself. It is not the business of the doctor to say that we must go to a watering-place; it is his affair to say that certain results of health will follow if we do go to a watering-place. After that, obviously, it is for us to judge. Physical science is like simple addition: it is either infallible or it is false. To mix science up with philosophy is only to produce a philosophy that has lost all its ideal value and a science that has lost all its practical value. I want my private physician to tell me whether this or that food will kill me. It is for my private philosopher to tell me whether I ought to be killed.”

 

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