Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Belief and Science

Alan I. Leshner, the Chief Executive Officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science writes,

"At the same time, it is important for scientists to acknowledge that not all questions can be answered by science. Scientific insights are limited to the natural world. For reasons of their own, some scientists argue with some passion that there could not have been an intelligent designer behind the process of evolution. In fact, we cannot answer that question scientifically, because it is a matter of belief that is outside our realm.

"By keeping ID out of the science venue, are we attempting to stifle it? On the contrary, I believe it is appropriate to teach about belief-based concepts like ID in humanities courses, in classes comparing religious points of view, or in philosophy courses that contrast religious and scientific approaches to the world. However, what is taught in science class should be limited to science. Redefining science to get a particular belief into the classroom simply isn't educationally sound."

Leshner advocates, in RSR's opinion, an extremely sensible approach. It reminds us of Stephen Jay Gould's formulation of NOMA -- Nonoverlapping Magisteria -- which is no longer getting the attention it deserves.


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