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jrlewis's picture

you can still participate in science

The conflict between religion and science has been fought on many fronts and continues to generate new controversies. It has had the unfavorable effect of forcing people to choose between religion and science. Seen in this light, science seems less accessible to humanity. Rebekah Baglini discusses how this issue affects American society. As a Quaker and a chemistry major, I have struggled to resolve this duality in my own beliefs. The paragraph that follows contains my personal belief or story about the role of religion and science in one's life. I do not mean to impose them on anyone. I offer my thoughts so that they may help someone else in a similar situation.

Religious beliefs and scientific stories have fundamentally different properties. However, religion and science may be complementary. The purpose of religion is provide consolation and hope about things that we have no way of knowing. For example, religion is able to talk about life after death. The goal of religion is edification.

However, science is a tool used to elucidate experience. It generates tentative stories or understandings that summarize known observations and inspire or structure future inquiry. Science is unable to talk about life after death, because there are no experiences or observations available to create a theory. According to Bickmore and Grandy, "scientific stories are crafted to explain observations, but the observations that are used as a basis for these must be reproducible".

With respect to the debate about creationism vs. evolution, I believe that science will prove itself capable of constructing progressively less wrong stories about the origin of life. There are an increasing number of facts and observations that are being incorporated into the theory of evolution every day. This perspective helps me to resolve the potential conflict between my religious and scientific views. The reconciliation allows me to participate in religion and science.

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