Thursday, November 29, 2007

Religion and science both require faith

I've been thinking all week about a New York Times Op-Ed article from Saturday, by the cosmologist Paul Davies of Arizona State University, which stated that if you're a scientist you have to have faith--faith in there being an order in the universe sufficient to support the laws of physics, chemistry, biology, etc. Beneath every testable theory we've developed, there is a point at which the greatest scientists say, "It is that way just because." or "We take that as a given."

Writes Davies,

Clearly, then, both religion and science are founded on faith — namely, on belief in the existence of something outside the universe, like an unexplained God or an unexplained set of physical laws, maybe even a huge ensemble of unseen universes, too. For that reason, both monotheistic religion and orthodox science fail to provide a complete account of physical existence.

It's humbling to think, with all the discoveries we've made, all the rules we've constructed about the universe, at the base of it is a vast, possibly infinite number of things we don't know and won't ever know. It made me think that maybe religious faith and science are more reconcilable than they might seem.

(Photo: N81 in the Small Mag from NASA's GRIN site.

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