Several folks have emailed asking why I’ve yet to write about RELIGION. Simply put, what I believe is that faith has no place in science. Will someone please stand up and explain the circular argument, the rhetoric, the tomfoolery and fiddlesticks that is the age old debate on how these two worlds converge? Convince me, and I’m ready and waiting at my laptop to jump in.
I admit I’m no expert here. Although I studied religion as a Classics major, my perspectives are predominantly influenced by an inundation of our own cultural norms, societal movements, American education, and the art of Groening and MacFarlane. Regardless, I don’t think a true savant could possibly exist on the topic given that belief is just that: FAITH. It need not be proven nor understood by anyone other than the individual holding it. What is fascinating to consider in the discussion is how religion currently shapes life on this planet with arguably every bit as much force as the biological processes driving evolution, adaptation, and extinction.
Sometimes I wonder whether my interest in Complex Adaptive Systems theory could be considered a religious undertaking. I’m certain it’s possible to argue so. Carl Sagan and I are both intrigued by π and whether meaningful significance may be hidden within the sequence. Along the same lines, when I look to nature and consider derivable patterns in branching trees and dendrites, migration processes, fish and flock behavior, and symbiotic relationships evolving over time, I’m left feeling as if there’s something to all this math. Detecting observable order out of chaos begs the questions: 1) Is the universe ‘constructed’ so that it ascribes to specified geometrical axioms? 2) If so, do these relationships result in early trajectories forward? 3) If single points of origin determine where we came from, are they concurrently acting upon where we are headed?
It’s certainly starting to sound as if I’m invoking that old ‘intelligent watchmaker’ analogy, doesn’t it? I’m not. In fact, I’m choosing to refrain from touching on my beliefs or lack there of altogether. It’s of no significance here or in science.
What I know for sure is that no matter what you believe, invoking the “F” word often provides justification for nearly 99% of the planet to tune you out. Regardless of evidence you think you have, it’s a loosing battle as soon as you threaten someone’s fundamental beliefs. Instead, our responsibility in this field is to engage everyone to think for them self, ask why, and be open to explore new ideas. Scientist need not equate with Godlessness. Period.
posted by Sheril R. Kirshenbaum
Hope you’ll all join me in welcoming Chris back home to The Intersection. Many thanks to all who have emailed, read, commented, and indulged me in exchanging ideas over past week.