Friday, January 10, 2014

Clergy discuss the relationship between science and religion

The Clergy Letter Project is sponsoring the 9th annual "Evolution Weekend" on February 7-0 2014. This is a weekend where clergy talk to their congregations about science and evolution. Here's how they describe the event ...
Evolution Weekend is an opportunity for serious discussion and reflection on the relationship between religion and science. An ongoing goal has been to elevate the quality of the discussion on this critical topic, and to show that religion and science are not adversaries. Rather, they look at the natural world from quite different perspectives and ask, and answer, different questions.
Maybe it's just me, but I thought that "serious discussion and reflection" means that all aspects of the conflict between science and religion would be considered. This includes the possibility that the conflict is very real and cannot be accommodated.

I was wrong. If you are a member of the Clergy Letter Project your mind is already made up.
Because religion and science use different methodologies to understand the world, and because religion and science ask very different questions, there is no reason to view them in conflict. One important facet of Evolution Weekend 2014, therefore, is to explore the questions each ask and to examine the different ways of knowing embodied in each.
There's not going to be any serious discussion about different ways of knowing and which ones are successful.

One of the most important lessons of science is that life evolved from simple primitive organisms over a period of at least three billion years. The history of life can be fully explained by natural causes without any need for miracles or divine intervention. We have learned that the evolution of life on this insignificant planet, in an ordinary galaxy, in a vast universe, has no purpose or goal.

There aren't many religions that can accommodate those facts.

[Hat Tip: Panda's Thumb]