Thoughts on science and faith

Times Standard

I majored in biology as an undergraduate, and have never regretted it. Life has taken me in many directions since then, but the “science of life” has stayed with me. I’ve recently read some books by Richard Dawkins, a genetic and molecular biologist, and an atheist. I recommend “The Greatest Show on Earth” to religious and non-religious people alike. He does a beautiful job explaining creation from the perspective of biology. “The Ancestor’s Tale” is another book I’d recommend, showing how evolution looks when we start with ourselves and move backward, rather than the more traditional approach, beginning with the earliest human we recognize and moving forward in time to Homo Sapiens.

Dawkins suggests we are a branch of a many faceted tree that by no means places us at the pinnacle of creation, but rather as an offshoot of one of many ancient lineages that eventually merge, in the dim recesses of time, with every other plant and animal species. So much for the concern about whether we derive from apes; according to Dawkins, the story is far more convoluted than that. If his theories are more or less correct, and I believe there is much evidence that they are, then the idea that all of creation is one is no longer conjecture but truth, from both a scientific and religious perspective.

I have never experienced a disconnect between faith and science. When I discovered faith, I was already well on the way to a degree in biology.

I knew I’d stumbled on something big, and science only convinced me over and over how big it all really is. The faith I share with many requires that we stretch ourselves in every possible way, because God is always bigger than ourselves, no matter how smart or aware we think we are. One of my favorite words for God is Wisdom, one of the most ancient ways Jews, Muslims and Christians have tried to describe the experience of God.

I appreciate the window that people like Richard Dawkins open to us by thorough and careful study of this amazing universe we live in. They are not alone. The God hypothesis is one of the most ancient ideas of all.

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  1. The God hypothesis is just that, a hypothesis that, no offense, ignorant people assume true when they cannot grasp the natural evolving history of life with ancient simple unicellular origins.

    Also, why not critically examine the possible circumstances around which material for a book written in Hebrew by Jews approximately 2500 y ago, and claiming to explain the origins of the universe, earth and life itself by invoking superstition, could have arisen?

    Keep in mind that people then did not know about evolution, much less its genetics basis, the nature of diseases, the life cycles of stars, gravity, the cellular, molecular and chemical structure of living beings, and the anatomical and physiological organization of tissues that any “intelligent” Creator would surely have made better.

    Finally, muslims and other religious devouts claiming that evolution fits with their scripture: PLEASE explain when god decided to breathe a moral soul into one of the millions of animal types. Was it when anatomically modern humans emerged or when simple culture first appeared, ca 50000 y ago? And why wait with telling but a small group of them how they should live their lives until 2500 y ago?

    A final question: If you are not willing to question the legitimacy of your beliefs and its origins, just as science constantly checks itself for errors, then how can you accept anything science has come up with such as evolution or genetics?

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