Sunday, September 8, 2013

Science versus Religion?

Since I published But the Greatest of These is Love last fall, started this blog, and began the tedious task of book promotion, I have become acquainted with social networks. I have recently joined a few "religious" forums to share what I have learned along my journey, and learn from others.

I am getting quite an education. I believe I have discovered what "Free Thinkers," (atheists) discuss at their meetings. Suggestions must include: "Join religious forums and redicule believers." I am dismayed by some of the "discussions" on "Religion" forums that go something like this: "God is real." "Is not." "Is too." "Is not." No kidding. Sure, the language is sometimes a little more sophisticated, but the sentiment is the same. When the "conversation" becomes demeaning, disrespectful, and antagonistic, I am tempted to take my ball (or computer) and go home. One atheist responded recently to one of my comments about faith by saying that I pray to the "baboon in the sky." Very mature. It sounded like the equivalent of "your god wears army boots."

God certainly doesn't need me to defend Him. But believers who haven't been on the journey long might be knocked off course for a while by insulting insinuations of ignorance, and worse. Apparently, atheists come at their "beliefs" on the basis of "Science," and the accusation of "no proof" of God. I am learning that organized atheists often resemble any other belief systems, proselytizing to the masses, fighting for converts,  intolerant of differing opinions. Interesting that "intolerance" is the sin they will not tolerate in religious types!

So, I had to ask myself, are most scientists atheists? Certainly not the scientists I know. (Granted, this artist/writer's eyes are tempted to glaze over at the mention of science, but this post and the accompanying material is even simple enough for me to understand, so please stay with me.)  

According to a Science Daily article, a study by Rice University suggests that only 15%, of scientists at major research universities see religion and science as incompatible. So the large majority, 85% consider both religion and science as "valid avenues of knowledge that can bring broader understanding to important ideas."

Works for me.

Many scientists have followed the evidence where it led them, to a belief in a Higher Power.  Francis Collins, current director of the National Institutes of Health, was an atheist evolving to agnosticism, searching for answers about God when his life was transformed 35 years ago by reading C. S. Lewis's Mere Christianity. (Lewis was, coincidentally, an atheist once too, until debating the absurdity of Christian beliefs with his close friend, J. R. R. Tolkien, a believer, when the proverbial Light bulb went on.) Collins wrote The Language of Goddescribing his work with human DNA, a code, a language, that, in his educated opinion, required an author—God. 

Michael Behe, a PhD biochemist, is an  "Intelligent Design" advocate. Despite much progress by science in understanding the complexity of biochemical systems, Behe feels that the progress has been insufficient in explaining  how such complex systems could evolve in a slow, gradual Darwinian fashion, instead of all at once. This short video illustrates Behe's point using flagella as his example. He is a scientist. I am not a scientist. While I can't quite wrap my head around flagella, I have always been curious about birds, with their wings evolving slowing and gradually over millions of years. How did they evolve into birds and not become extinct, as in prey, as they flopped around unable to fly. 

What I am discovering about science and scientists is not news to me. If atheists are hanging their hats on science to be their savior from God, they are not looking past the blinders on their hat brims. 

"A scientific discovery is also a religious discovery. There is no conflict between science and religion. Our knowledge of God is made larger with every discovery we make about the world."  Joseph H. Taylor, Jr. Taylor is an American astrophysicist and Nobel Prize in Physics laureate (1993), for his co-discovery of a new type of pulsar. (I am not sure what a pulsar is, but I trust it is important, if its discovery merits a Nobel Prize.)

The easiest to understand science quote for me is from Sir Francis Bacon, " A little science estranges a man from God, a lot of science brings him back."