Science and faith discussion evolving to a place of harmony

Can faith, scientific progress coexist? They can

Published: Friday, Sept. 30 2011 6:00 p.m. MDT

"ID doesn't make predictions nor does it publish its 'results' in scientific journals, so if it is science then it is bad science," Holder said in an interview with the BBC in June. "If it is theology then it's bad theology because orthodox theology sees God involved in the whole process of the world, upholding and sustaining the laws he has ordained and bringing about his purposes through those laws. God is not to be confined to ever narrower gaps in scientific knowledge. Quite the opposite: God is to be found in what we know from science, not from what we don't know."

Finding harmony

There's a profound message in the title of Francis Collins' foundation: "BioLogos."

The combination of the Greek words, "Bios" for life, and "Logos" for the Word, reflects a conviction that "the universe, and the life within it, can be understood as a manifestation of God's creative purpose," wrote Collins, a physician, geneticist, Christian, and former director of the Human Genome Project, a 13-year project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health to identify the nearly 25,000 genes in human DNA and make them accessible for further study.

"We're heavily invested in seeing that public understanding of science improves," said Kathryn Applegate, program director for BioLogos. "And certainly to show that there's no reason to think you can't have a vibrant Christian faith and at the same time, accept conclusions of mainstream science like evolution. It's less about telling people what to believe than it is about really helping people to see that we need to have this conversation."

And the conversation only progresses when individuals are well-versed about the current scientific research, plus understand what their scriptures really do and do not say.

"Like a good scientist, all readers, all people must take stock of what we really know, assess how well we know what we know, why we know what we know, quantify our margin of error and formulate tactics to move our knowledge ahead," Welch said. "This is good scientific procedure and it applies just as well in the area of religion."

For those who are afraid to dive into the science, for fear it will shake their faith, Holder assures them they'll be fine.

"If God is the Creator of the Universe, then learning more about science is learning more about God," says Holder. "How can anything we discover threaten our faith?"

It's that promise of new discoveries that keeps Woodbury excitedly glued to his job.

"As a scientist, I have the enviable job of working every day trying to figure out how God did cool things," he said. "I consider myself a lucky person. I don't suspend my faith, I'm in awe as it unfolds before me."

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