Recently Science and Religion News posted a video link of a lecture by Dr. Lawrence Krauss entitled Science and Religion: Two Ships in the Night. This is the money line from an abstract that sent the hamster on my mental wheel running like a banshee:
At best , science and religion have very little to do with one another. At worst, they are completely incompatible. And what little connection between the two even in the best of cases involves a one-way street. Science may enrich faith, but not vice versa. [emphasis mine].
Being both a Christian and a scientist, this quote not only gave me pause, it wrapped up "pause" in a nice gift bag with a pretty bow and a little note that said, "To: Brian, Love: Quote".
Let me leave aside the extensive contributions of people of faith to science because I don't believe that is the speaker's intention (though it does play a role in the issue). To me, faith makes this chief contribution to science: from faith springs freedom. And from freedom springs freedom of thought. And from freedom of thought springs the riches of science.
To bolster my claim I offer these words from the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness... And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
I argue that the faith of the founders of the United States planted the unalienable right of liberty into the soil of this country. And from that fertile ground grew scientific contributions too many to number. This goes far beyond a "little connection" or two ships passing in the night. I think that faith has served as a tug which pulled science out of the harbor into the deep waters. Yes science started before the foundation of America, but the connection of faith and science has a rich history.
Your thoughts on the connection of faith and science are more than welcome. I'd also like to pick your brain on the Dr. Krauss lecture in general and in particular his quote, "Science may enrich faith, but not visa versa."
There's also some interesting overlap with the "One Giant Leap" contributions, which you should see if you haven't already. (Oh yeah, don't forget to vote there too!)
Updated 1/20/09: Rocket Scientist is "Joining in the Worm Toss" of this conversation. Be sure to pick up the thread there too because is has some excellent discourse that merits your time regardless of where you stand on this issue.
Update 1/21/09: Picture updated.