Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Should Science Speak to Faith?

The July issue of Scientific American contains an interesting debate between Lawrence M. Krauss, theoretical physicist and author of The Physics of Star Trek, and Richard Dawkins, evolutionary biologist and author of The God Delusion. While both agree on the primacy of science in understanding our world, they do not agree about the best ways to counter religiously motivated threats to the scientific endeavor. Krauss favors engaging the faithful, whereas Dawkins, in the quite diplomatic and understated words of the editor, "has generally shown less interest...in achieving a peaceful coexistence between science and faith." The exchange makes for an interesting read, as both sides make good points, and it seems that, in the end, they find much common ground. As Krauss says, and Dawkins agrees to, "What we need to try to eradicate is not religious belief, or faith, it is ignorance. Only when faith is threatened by knowledge does it become the enemy." The main difference between the two is that Dawkins advocates "tough love" and Krauss favors a more nuanced approach.

The Creation of Adam. Michelangelo. 1508-1512.

1 comment:

  1. It is interesting to see the debate between the so called appeasers and hard liners make it into a relatively mainstream magazine. It says something about how far the discussion has come. I find myself drifting further into the hard liner camp. I can't get past the point made by many (including Sam Harris) that accepting anything on faith is completely antithetical to science.