It’s a modern myth that science and religion cannot mix.
In fact, many moderns – take the New Atheists like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris for example – argue that not only is religion incompatible with science, but religion is in fact a hinderance to societal progress and should be abolished.
The New Atheists’ ideas are propagated by many in the mainstream media, leading to the public’s perception that religion and science are irreconcilable.
But this isn’t true.
Take the late astronomer Owen Gingerich for example.
Gingerich, who passed away on March 28, 2023, once said: “It seems to me that religion and religious views were very much handmaidens to the birth of modern science,” and the scientific method owes a debt to “the kind of reasoning that Thomas Aquinas laid out.”
According to Aleteia,
Gingerich grew up in a Mennonite family amid the plains of the Midwest. His interest in astronomy began in childhood. As a teen he became fascinated by how variable stars changed in brightness. Gingerich went on to study astronomy at Harvard University, where he would eventually teach astronomical history. He also served as an astrophysicist at the Smithsonian Astronomical Observatory.
Gingerich “devoted much of his later life to giving talks about the supposed conflict between science and religion,” including writing the book God’s Planet.
In God’s Planet, Gingerich contended that contra the New Atheists, “The more rigorous science becomes over time, the more clearly God’s handiwork can be comprehended.”
What is accepted today as science is commonly colored by personal beliefs, including our religious or our antireligious sentiments. If someone tells you that evolution is atheistic, be on guard. If someone claims that science tells us we are here by pure chance, take care. And if someone declares that [the two] magisteria do not overlap, just smile smugly and don’t believe it.
That’s good advice.
Many of the most foundational and historically important scientific figures have also been people of deep faith. These include:
- Gregor Mendel – the “Founder of Modern Genetics.”
- Blaise Pascal – the French mathematician and scientist.
- Galileo Galilei – the “Father of observational astronomy” and modern science.
- Robert Boyle – the “Founder of Modern Chemistry” and pioneer of the scientific method.
And there are many others.
It’s a great tragedy that many public-school science classes assert that life on earth emerged from unguided and undirected evolutionary processes – no Creator needed. For modern science currently cannot explain how the universe emerged out of nothing, and how life originated on earth. That is, it cannot explain these things absent a divine Creator.
Our modern moral degeneracy certainly is a result, in part, of the lack of a belief in a Creator – and therefore the absence of divine accountability and objective morality.
Gingerich was correct when he insisted that “There is no contradiction between holding a staunch belief in supernatural design and being a creative scientist.”
Quoting Copernicus – whom he spent years of his life studying – Gingerich would say, “So vast, without any question, is the Divine Handiwork of the Almighty Creator.”
Homicide detective J. Warner Wallace recently appeared on the Focus on the Family Broadcast to discuss the evidence for the historicity and deity of Jesus Christ. To listen to his broadcast, The Proof You Need to Believe in Jesus Christ, click here.
Additionally, you can check out a copy of Wallace’s most recent book, Person of Interest, here.
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