Science and Religion

So I’ve been wondering… What exactly has put this great divide between science and religion? It certainly seems to have been in my lifetime. Is it even as much of a disjunct as the news would have us believe? Certainly I know scientists who have faith. The Vatican even has a respectable contingent of astronomers, and a number of telescopes. They do good science too. Father Angelo Secchi was the first person to discover solar spicules, for instance.

Religion and science used to work so well together. The first ever stained glass was used in early catholic churches. Medieval islamic scientists pioneered the scientific method, invented metallurgical techniques and named the stars. Many of those names, like Aldebarran, are still used today. Granted, there have been disputes, Galileo being a good example. Mind you, the church did formally apologise for it’s treatment of Galileo (albeit a few hundred years later).

And then you find things like this. Are we actually making our decisions here, or are they being made for us? Maybe I don’t want to pick sides. Maybe I’d prefer it if we all just got on with our own lives and stopped trying to enforce our views on others. Lately, some scientists (mentioning no names) are getting so vocal that frankly, I can see how people might be a bit upset.

The sad fact is that it seems there are people on both sides of the proverbial fence who take the approach of ‘shout first, ask questions later’. One side antagonises the other. The other retaliates. The first escalates the argument. So on, ad nauseum.

But astronomy is no longer the main subject of debate. Now it’s evolution. And frankly it’s getting tiresome…

(For the record, I’m not an atheist. I’m a taoist.)

About Invader Xan

Molecular astrophysicist, usually found writing frenziedly, staring at the sky, or drinking mojitos.
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