Can We End the Science vs. Religion Debate?

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.

            -Albert Einstein

Attention has been drawn to teaching of evolution by a debate between Bill Nye (the science guy) and Ken Ham, president of the Creation Museum. This topic usually expands into a general discussion of science vs. religion. I have to say that I am exhausted by this topic. It’s a bit like listening to a conversation between Bill O’Reilly and President Obama before the Superbowl. They are never going to agree, or probably even have common ground so what do we actually learn from it?

I will often hear individual’s say they “don’t believe in evolution.” Use of the word “believe” indicates that it is rooted in faith. After I count to 10 and calm myself I will often ask them if they believe in gravity. “But evolution is just a theory,” I often hear. Gravitation theory is just a theory as well. Part of the problem is lack of understanding of language. To a scientist, a theory isn’t put forth until rigorously tested, peer reviewed, tested again, and then then is recognized as tentative and always subject to revision. To a news anchor or pundit, (or unfortunately many politicians) a theory is a (wild) guess.

Things on earth have changed. This is observable phenomena. We can see this in fossils and in living things today in real time. I would say that we have a better understanding of the mechanism of how things change on earth through natural selection, genetics, and reproduction, than we do of the mechanism of how gravity works. To really explain how gravity works requires some serious quantum mechanics beyond the math and physics understanding of the majority of the population—yet we don’t have to believe in gravity because we all feel it and rely on it every day. We all rely on evolution every day too, but we just don’t feel it in the same way. Therefore it has become acceptable not believe in evolution despite the rapidly evolving bacteria becoming resistant to the anti-bacterial soap most of us use. Stop using that by the way.

But what if Einstein was right? How much greater understanding of the world would we all have if we were willing to end the debate of science vs. religion and instead embrace the unique sphere of understanding both can provide us if looked at together?

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