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Science vs Religion

Maybe you didn’t realize it but a debate has been raging on between whether science and religion are compatible.  Of course it’s a question that has been argued over for probably longer than anyone may really be able to say.  Steven Jay Gould coined the term “NOMA” for Non-Overlapping Magisteria to try to shoehorn the two subjects into separate boxes.  Although that seems to doomed to failure to me. 

But since the rise of the “New Atheism” as many call it, the competing camps are back hurling bombs at one another.  Back in February, evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne set off a truly grand battle that has resulted in loads digital ink being spilt all over the internet.  You can read that here.

[T]his does not mean that faith and science are compatible, except in the trivial sense that both attitudes can be simultaneously embraced by a single human mind. (It is like saying that marriage and adultery are compatible because some married people are adulterers. ) It is also true that some of the tensions disappear when the literal reading of the Bible is renounced, as it is by all but the most primitive of JudeoChristian sensibilities. But tension remains. The real question is whether there is a philosophicalincompatibility between religion and science. Does the empirical nature of science contradict the revelatory nature of faith? Are the gaps between them so great that the two institutions must be considered essentially antagonistic? The incessant stream of books dealing with this question suggests that the answer is not straightforward.

PZ Myers’ Pharyngula blog has covered and added to the debate.  Also Andrew Sullivan’s blog has weighted in.  As usual with such debates it shifts ground and other topics arise such as atheism in general.  Francis Collins being selected to head the NIH for Obama also started a mini firestorm given his attempted reconciliation between faith and science.  At some point I will try to lay out more of the debate that has gone on.  From now one I’ll also try to post new stuff that comes up if it seems interesting enough to comment on.  
Update: From Jerry’s blog – a collection of much of the back and forth.
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