Must science and religion be separate?

Arianna Huffington
Health Education

Writer Arthur Koestler once observed that scientific truth comes by intuition and revelation as surely as it comes by logical deduction and reason, and that great science and great faith always run in the same direction. Why then, do they more often seem to be running in opposite directions? From those who in the nineteenth century attacked Darwin's theory of evolution to those who, based on a literal reading of Scripture, still believe that the earth is flat, people have used theology to defend ultimate truths that turned out, among other things, to be not true. In such moments, religion has been perverted from its purpose, and the damage done by this perversion has injured both religion and science.

But science, too, has been perverted from its purpose, particularly in the misbegotten notion that science had to declare its separation from spirituality. Faith is excluded from the laboratory in the name of "scientific objectivity," ignoring the critical role our assumptions play in our conclusions.  Forgotten in this presumed conflict between science and religion is the fact that  the purpose of science is not only to seek technological solutions to life's problems, but also to illuminate the answers to questions about life's meaning by pointing to the order and harmony, to the delicate patterns and bold connections that pervade every inch of our universe -- including the universe within.

Science begins with doubt in its search for certainties, and it is this doubt that makes the religious mind uneasy. Yet if science goes about upsetting apple carts, it is in a mad search for the seeds of the apples.  In the very process of demystifying the world, we discover a new mystery, recognizing and celebrating God in everything. Those who want to use "the science of our fathers to combat the religion of our grandfathers" are fighting an unnecessary and outdated war.

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