Conflict Between Science and Religion?

Here is a comment I made on the religion-science debate now appearing on a popular blog (http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2010/03/15/debate-with-christopher-reiger-about-a-call-for-sacred-biologists/comment-page-1/#comment-7410):

Those with a more open mind on this subject may wish to read the letter that I wrote long ago regarding the apologetics of the leaders of the American Association for the Advancement of Science:

Conflict Between Science and Religion?

The editorial by AAAS Chair Gilbert S. Omenn and CEO Alan I. Leshner in The Wichita Eagle entitled “No conflict between science and religion” (1) appears to have been good politics, as it may have helped to overthrow the anti-evolution board members in Kansas. But is this approach good for science? As scientists, we are duty-bound to tell the truth. It is simply not true that there is no conflict between science and religion. That’s what the whole debate is about in the first place. The conflict has persisted for centuries and probably will continue for centuries more.

As scientists, our experience with the external world has led us to conservative assumptions that are in opposition to the extreme assumptions of traditional mythology (2). We assume, for example, that matter and the motion of matter neither can be created nor destroyed (conservation). The opposing assumption, creation of something from nothing, has no experimental proof and thus must be regarded as the more extreme view. To soft-pedal the contradiction between conservation and creation is a detriment to science. Indeed, the usual obfuscation typical of the last century now has led us to a so-called “scientific” theory that speculates that the entire universe could be created out of nothing. We should welcome the open debate, for pedagogical reasons if nothing else.

Glenn Borchardt, Director

Progressive Science Institute


1. Omenn, G.S., and Leshner, A.I, 2006, No conflict between science and religion, The Wichita Eagle: Wichita, KN. www.kansas.com

2. Borchardt, Glenn, 2004, The ten assumptions of science: Toward a new scientific worldview: Lincoln, NE, iUniverse, 125 p.

The second reference has been expanded into a book, "The Scientific Worldview: Beyond Newton and Einstein" (iUniverse, 2007), that clearly shows why the conflict will continue despite the many claims of religious proponents that it doesn't exist. In particular, the book shows what happens when we use consupponible assumptions that lead to scientific rather than religious conclusions. Mixing and matching science and religion may give some folks peace of mind--even a Templeton prize--but it is of no benefit to science, other than to engender financial support from those who still believe.


Glenn Borchardt said...

Check out this great post on accomodationism:


Glenn Borchardt said...

More on accomodationism:


Glenn Borchardt said...

More on AAAS and Science sponsoring religion: