Peaceful Article by Ethan Siegel


(Peaceful Science) #1

Starts with a Bang is among the best science blogs on the internet, perhaps the best. Focused on astrophysics too (paging @Casper_Hesp). I appreciate his article because he often gets into the math and actual data of astrophysics. He even gets into the current controversies. Yet, he still explains things in a way that a mere computational biologist like me can understand.

For example, If not for him, I would not know that the second multipole of the spherical harmonics of the afterglow of the Big Bang (i.e. CMB) tells our speed and direction with respect to the rest of the universe. Now that is some substance I can sink my teeth into.

Ethan Siegel is the author, and I’m fairly certain he is an atheist. He often is arguing against fine-tuning. However, he wrote a pretty phenomenal and surprising article on Religion and Science.

His concluding paragraph.

Religion is for anyone who wants it in their life, and science is as well. They are neither fundamentally incompatible, nor are they mutually exclusive. Knowledge, education, self-improvement, and the bettering of our shared world are endeavors that are open to everyone. We don’t have to (and likely won’t) always agree with one another, but we can always work to understand a perspective that differs from our own. Perhaps, someday in the near future, that will be the story that makes headlines, rather than attempts to sow discord between two of the most influential forces for good in our world.

This is consistent with my efforts at Peaceful Science (http://peacefulscience.org), And this goal of making science a common ground for all, to serve the common good, is even why methodological naturalism (which is incorrectly named) is important in science too. http://peacefulscience.org/methodological-naturalism/ It is also consistent with the values expressed by some of the friendly atheists here like @T_aquaticus.

Also, quite interestingly, he finds that the gap between scientists and the public is strongest on GMOs, not evolution or climate change. GMO’s, by the way, are critical technology for feeding the world, and serving the common good.

He also includes this graph from our friend at Rice University, Elaine Ecklund.

Any how, curious your thoughts on this article, and finding peace in science. Continue the conversation here or at Peaceful Science. https://discourse.peacefulscience.org/t/peaceful-article-from-ethan-seigel/74


(John Dalton) #2

Nice article and blog. He’s speaking my language here in a couple of places. The multiverse article was very good too; looking forward to reading more. Thanks for posting.


#3

GMO’s are also a vital part of biomedical research, such as the many modified mouse strains that are used in fields such as developmental biology and cancer research. There are also several humanized mouse monoclonal antibodies being used as medicine, so the general public is already directly benefiting from this technology in the field of medicine, as well as in agriculture.

I can’t remember who said it, but I remember reading a quote that read something like “scientists should ask a dangerous question once every week”. I think that sums up the scientific mindset for many scientists. Scientists tend to be the group that wants to ignore common tradition in order to figure something out. At times, this can rub the general populace the wrong way. People have a reflexive reaction to the idea of changing DNA, which they see as the fundamental molecule that makes each organism unique or special. People will often describe it as “playing God”. I think it is up to scientists to engage the public and show the benefits of such technology, and share their insights and worldviews to hopefully smooth any ruffled feathers.

Science has also ruffled some feathers within religious circles, and such criticisms are actually quite fair. The most controversial scientists often get the most attention (i.e. Dawkins), so I think it is important to have more moderate voices make some noise once in a while. Good luck on your blog!


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #4

I quite agree that science and Christianity are very compatible, but it should be noted that this means more than they are not in obvious conflict.

It should be obvious that both science and Christianity believe that we live in a rational universe, which is run by rational natural laws, how2ever this comes into conflict with those who say that the universe is composed the only matter/energy which cannot think.

It is not so clear that Reality is historical, in that it has direction, meaning, and purpose. Science in the form of evolution is a part, wants to deny that life has meaning, purpose, and direction. Christianity takes the opposite view.

If Christianity is compatible with science evolution must indicate that Life has meaning, purpose, and direction. When the science of evolution is properly understood that is the case.

Finally Einstein’s Theory of Relativity challenges the philosophy of both science and Christianity. Both along with the traditional discipline of philosophy must respond and adapt or put our culture at risk.

Atheists and conservative Christians who say that science and Christianity are not compatible are very wrong.