LETTER: Science and religion as potential partners

Ponoka News reader suggests science and religion go hand-in-hand.

Dear Editor,

Richard Dawkins has for years been the figure head of a group that repudiates religious belief.

Some religious believers on the other hand have often repudiated scientific findings and theories including the theory of evolution. For both science and religion this is unfortunate.

Not only can the social sciences provide helpful information about our connections with each other and the value of belief systems for groups, but they can also offer important ideas and information about who we are as individuals. The physical sciences on the other hand can make us wonderfully aware of the complexity of the cosmos, from its most minuscule particles to its unimaginable expanse. Indeed at the heart of both religion and science is the experience of awe.

Both religion and science have another connection. Both have resorted to dogma at times, a term usually interpreted today as a principle layed down by an authority as incontrovertible truth. Interestingly the original word ‘dogma’ in Greek meant “to think” or “to have an opinion.” Over millennia for both science and religion, dogma has changed from the capacity to think or to have an opinion to an idea or view held as irrefutable.

For instance, generations before and after Ptolemy there was the belief that the sun revolved around the earth. That view went unchallenged till Copernicus presented his model of a heliocentric planetary system. In Buddhism, Christianity and Islam despite their respective founders’ teachings, different branches of their respective traditions occurred. In such a multiplicity of views, one wonders about the irrefutable nature of dogma.

Religion and science have more in common that we imagine. Both seek for truth in their own ways. It is unfortunate that they often live in hermetically sealed compartments.

George Jason

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