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Science and Religion, An Interesting Optimism

imageIt is an interesting article, “Peace Breaks Out in the War Between Religion and Science,” by Michael Zimmerman in the Huffington Post. It is particularly timely because of some recent discussion in this blog. Dr. Zimmerman is Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Professor of Biology at Butler University. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is past editor of the Newsletter of the Ohio Center for Science Education as well as the founder of The Clergy Letter Project :

Yes, there are religious leaders who proclaim that their religious teachings dictate their scientific beliefs. Fundamentalists who adhere dogmatically to a specific interpretation of ancient texts and demand that those bizarre interpretations be taught in science classes fall into this category. Fundamentalists like Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis who unilaterally break science into "operational" science and "historical" science fall into this category. And fundamentalists like those at the Discovery Institute who promote a redefinition of science to include the supernatural also fall into this category. But these people and organizations, as loud and as well funded as they are, do not represent the vast majority of religious individuals. When we conflate these two dramatically different groups and assume they have the same motives and intellectual underpinnings, we’re making a huge mistake and missing an opportunity for enhanced understanding.

And, yes, there are some scientists, who do exactly this. They characterize anyone who holds any religious belief in the same fashion as they describe those who are dogmatic in their misunderstanding of science. Some of these scientists believe that science must lead to atheism and, while such a path may have made sense for them, it is demonstrably not the case for large numbers of other scientists and millions of citizens interested in both religion and science.

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