Posted by Amber Yoder:
One of the really interesting conversations to come out of BLAST! is the discussion of religion and science. In this clip from the film, Barth Netterfield – one of the leading scientists on BLAST!, talks about how his belief in God has informed and inspired his scientific research. This small portion of the film has inspired a lot of dialogue in audiences after screenings.
There is a lot of debate over whether science and religion are compatiable studies. Barth has written a lengthy response on his opinions and experiences in the BLAST! blog. In it he writes:
As you say, most senior scientists are atheists: in my view, this is a natural product of a generation of extremists (both Atheist and Fundamentalist Christian) arguing that science and religion are incompatible. Even today, there is a lot of rhetoric expelled on the topic of “Christianity vs Evolution”, as if these two ideas were somehow at odds.
But I think that the climate is changing. I have found with current and recent students who have ‘grown up’ with ‘cosmological fine tuning’ and Anthropic arguments for the nature of the Universe, the default belief seems to be ‘agnosticism’ rather than Atheism.
To read all of Barth's response, visit the BLAST! guest blog.
If you find this topic interesting, you might also enjoy the new book Science and Religion: What Scientists Really Think by Rice University sociologist Elaine Ecklund. In it Ecklund discusses the results of her study of 1,646 scientists at top American research universities.
Among her findings: ~36% of those surveyed believe in God and practice a form of closeted, often non-traditional faith. Learn more from this interview with Ecklund from the Center for Inquiry's Point of Inquiry podcast.
So are science and religion incompatiable, or can we find a common ground? Let us know your thoughts!