Faith and Science

23 01 2007

I’m taking an introduction level biology class this semester, focusing on evolution. The teacher, while I think she’s perfectly competent as a teacher, and really seems to know her stuff, seems to be constantly on the verge of taking pot shots at religion. She has yet to say anything directly, but still, the attitude is pretty clear, and we’ve only had three lectures so far. (And of course, this is the class in which I have to miss an exam because of Pesach.) I should think about what I want to do if she does say anything outright offensive.
I’ve never quite understood the conflict most people see between religion and science. I’m deeply religious (which I guess is pretty clear from the converting), but I’m also a science major, and have always been a science person. The two things are answering fundamentally different questions. Science is trying to answer the hows of the world around us, and religion answers the whys. Evolution doesn’t contradict G-d’s existence anymore than it proves it. Evolution studies the mechanism through which life changes and adapts on our planet but it makes no claims as to why. I think science only demonstrates the real beauty of the world He created.
Think of a computer program. If you want to write a program to generate a bunch of different solutions, the elegant, beautiful solutions are the ones that use simple rules, that use recursion, or loops, some sort of logical trick to generate the solutions, not the ones that simply brute-force their way through all the iterations. I think the idea that G-d “programmed” evolution is even more impressive and awe inspiring than if He had brute force sculpted each species one by one.  Evolution is an elegant solution to a changing world, to the myriad of niches that are there waiting to be filled by something.  How do people look at that and see something that contradicts G-d?  (I’m not saying that everyone will see clear evidence of a creator in that, since I don’t think it is clear evidence for G-d’s existence, but I see nothing in it that rules out a world with a creator) Science is just starting to get a glimpse of the programming for our universe, and every day it becomes clearer just how impressive that truly is.

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One response

2 02 2007
Jewish Thinker

One thing that I love the most about our religion is how we are willing to accept science as part of G-d’s plan and not take it as a threat to our belief system.

Perhaps that’s why so many Jews have one high awards in science… we’re not scared of it we just understand that it’s part of G-d’s creation. You should read the article on my blog “Christian fish eats smaller Darwin fish!”

Cheers.

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