In fact, I happen to be one of them. Admittedly, my religion (Judaism) and theological beliefs are very different from theopolitically conservative Catholics and Protestants. But ScienceBlogling Chad Orzel makes a really good point about religious scientists (and I thought all he did is teach physics to dogs):
…it is not in any way an “unconscionable” political statement for professional scientific organizations to state that science and religion are compatible. It’s a statement of fact, an acknowledgment that in the real world, there are numerous examples of people who are both personally religious and successful, even prominent scientists…
How do these people deal with the philosophical contradiction inherent in there beliefs? I have no idea. I don’t really care, either, any more than I care how philosophers resolve Zeno’s paradox. Religious scientists exist, and I can move from one side of the room to the other in finite time….
There is nothing unconscionable, in my view, in professional organizations stating publicly that these people exist. What would be unconscionable is the reverse– a public statement that science and religion can never be compatible amounts to a denial of the existence of the many men and women who find some way to reconcile science and religion in their own lives. I find that sort of rhetoric deeply insulting even on blogs, let alone from a professional organization.
While I’m not as insulted by the rhetoric as Chad is (trust me, anti-Semites are far worse than the occasional obnoxious atheist), what has always struck me is the unwillingness of some atheists to honestly attempt to understand how religious scientists hold the views they do (along with the recognition that ‘religious’ is not the adjective of Religion–there are many different religions). I don’t mean this in any conversionary way (we Jews aren’t an evangelical religion), but, if nothing else, understanding why someone might be religious and a scientist would help refine atheists’ arguments.