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Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Faith and Science - Mutually Exclusive?

HAC had a multi-post discussion on evolution, and it inspired me to address it from a different perspective. Are religious faith and science mutually exclusive? Can you be a true believer in a religion and also accept all scientific data?

I think there are several angles to this. As a holder of a BS in Chemistry w/a minor in Mechanical Engineering, I know some science. One of the biggest differences about science and faith is this - as time passes, science seems to change its answers often, while faith does not.

Of course, one has to keep in mind what these monikers 'science' and 'faith' really mean. If by science we mean the actual chemical elements in a substance, or the speed of sound, or the amount of torsion required to stress an iron rod until it breaks, then science is constant. Also, if we mean what a religion's followers have to say about a certain religion's view on a subject, then faith changes.

But those are not of what we speak. I speak of exactly the opposite - science as what a body of people conclude about evidence and its implications and faith's enduring legacy of the founder of a religion.

Why those aspects? Because it is exactly those aspects that compose what people believe are the essence of science or faith. Few people believe that the crusades are the essence of Christianity. Even less know the chemical composition of 3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine (but they know what Ecstasy is!)

You see, if we take the constant aspects of science and faith, or the changing aspects of science and faith, we get the same answer - it doesn't matter what you agree with, because the truth (Jesus is the Way or one mole of atoms = 6.022x10^23 atoms) never changes. Those things that are not the truth change with societal whims - and those who buy into those changes do it for a specific reason: they don't like the truth.

Thoughts? I'll expand over the next few days, but this post is plenty log enough.

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