On Science And Religion

Thanks for posing the important question of the relative roles of science and religion (The Scientist, September 5, page 10). Biologist William Provine tells us that “science and religion are incompatible.” The fact is, they are incompatible only in the sense that “round” and “red” are incompatible. Arguments on this topic usually consist of one side insisting that the ball is round, while the other shouts, “No, no! It’s red!” Such statements are not contradictory. The belief that they are is called by logicians a category error, like believing that we could cure world hunger if we only had a large enough menu.

Provine states authoritatively that “no purposive principles exist in nature,” that “humans die completely with no survival of soul or psyche,” that “no inherent moral or ethical laws exist, nor are there absolute guiding principles for human society,” and that “we have no...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?