Sunday Sermon: Science and “spirit”

So, another atheist has added his voice to the chorus of complaint about “strident atheists” who thwart the quest to “literally rise above” the conflict between science and religion.

Astrophysicist Adam Franks writes that we need “a language for reimagining culture,” but one that includes the words “spirit” and “sacred.” He seems to be suggesting that we should pay some sort of homage to the “God of the gaps,” rather than merely acknowledging gaps:

“We do not yet have the language to express ourselves when we seek to both honor the practices of science and the experience of life justly called sacred.  We do not yet have a vocabulary that can acknowledge science and its ethic of investigation as a bulwark against prejudice and bias while simultaneously acknowledging the existence of other “ways of knowing” beyond the deployment of reason and empirical investigation.”

He also seems to think that an idea’s persistence implies some merit: “Can we see what is best in existing traditions and ask why they remain inspiring?”

Sure, but what if the answer is that science remains inspiring because it works really well at getting us closer to truth, while religion remains inspiring because it’s really good at giving people answers they find comforting, while frightening people who would otherwise reject it as utter folly?

(pic via Vampire Freaks)

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