Can science and religion go together? Yes, says one Seventh-day Adventist

Can science and religion go together?  Yes, says one Seventh-day Adventist

Marcus Basigi – “Science or religion? … There is no need to choose one or the other,” Adventist scholar Noemi Duran said in her lecture in Madrid to a Christian and secular audience on May 20. His talk is organized around the theme “Science and Religion: An Unlikely Couple?” by Iglesia Cero, an Adventist church that caters to a predominantly urban and secular demographic.

Doran is director of the European Division of the Geosciences Research Institute. She is also a trained biologist, and is interested in the interactions between biblical faith and current scientific developments, particularly when it comes to the origins of life and humans. In this context, he does not see a conflict between what he believes in and his scientific commitment. “A scientist Noemi Duran is the same person as Christian Noemi Duran,” she said, “but not only that. As a scientist and a Christian, Noemi Duran is also a creationist. Many people have a hard time understanding that.”

In her presentation, Doran explained why she feels she can be a scientist, Christian, and creationist. “Here, I’m not trying to convince anyone, but this is my experience, my reasoning for believing that we can be all three together,” he asserted.

Are science and religion in conflict?
There are words that naturally relate to science (reality, empirical, objective) and religion (supernatural, personal experience, subjective). Science is usually only classified as empirical, but this is not always the case.

After giving some examples from the Bible, Doran said, “The God I believe in is much more empirical than it usually appears in our understanding of religion.” He made it clear to his audience that science is not as objective as it claims to be. There is a belief that we as scientists are objective and do not give way to our opinions and feelings, but that is a lie. We are people like everyone else and we are influenced by our thoughts, expectations, and desires in order to achieve an outcome.”

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Moreover, for more than a century now, researchers have recognized that scientists often have “favorite hypotheses”—the ones they love. Without realizing it, they often conduct their supposedly objective research in a way that confirms the results they expect.

Science and the supernatural
Doran recalls the idea of ​​supernatural changes over time: “Sometimes we identify supernatural elements that we cannot explain with the natural laws we currently know. There are phenomena that we think are real because they are derived from observation, but we don’t really know how they work, at least not yet.”

Nowadays, the scientific community accepts phenomena that many years ago could not have been used to ridicule the people who supported them, the speaker added and mentioned the current scientific discussions that delve into the possibility that life on this planet could be the result of extraterrestrial activity. Given the statistical improbability of a planet where physical constants, such as the speed of light, the gravitational constant, etc., coincide in such a way as to make life possible, scientists are discussing in respectable places and events the possibility of a multiverse.

“I say this just to prove that the idea of ​​science’s objectivity is completely subjective,” Doran explained.

When and how did science and religion become opposites?
According to many authors, modern science was a by-product of Christian theology. Quoting prof. Antonio Fernandez Ranyada explained: “Science is built on the Christian belief in a God who not only created the universe, but also gave it an order and certain laws to follow… The world has a system that allows it to be the object of its study”.

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Doran reminded his audience that these scientific revolutionaries of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were also committed Christians: Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, and Michael Faraday. In the context of the widespread belief in Christianity that changes in species are not possible, Charles Darwin set out to prove that species do, in fact, change over time. He also began claiming a common ancestor for all species. “The scientific community at the time was eager to embrace Darwin because they were waiting for such an opportunity to get rid of their persecution by the Church,” the speaker affirmed.

material commitment
Nowadays, the natural interpretation is accepted a priori even against logic and common sense. He then quotes the late evolutionary biologist Richard Lewontin as saying, “Our willingness to accept scientific claims that contradict common sense is the key to understanding the real conflict between science and the supernatural. We stand with science despite the apparent futility of some of its construction, despite its failures In fulfilling his many strange promises of health and life, though the scientific community tolerates unsubstantiated stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism… That materialism is absolute, because we cannot allow the divine foot to walk through the door.”

The ultimate goal of science
“But what is the ultimate goal of science?” Doran asked. According to evolutionist Richard Dawkins, for example, “Science is the selfless pursuit of objective truth about the physical world.”

In this context, any search for scientific truth must be open-minded, fostering an out-of-the-ordinary mindset. “There was a time when thinking outside the box meant thinking that God did not exist. Today, thinking outside the box means that God really does exist. So, we need to keep our options open and follow the evidence wherever it leads,” the rapporteur suggested.

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Keep your options open
Doran explained that atheist and Christian scientists operate very similarly because they follow accepted methods of scientific observation and analysis. “It is only when they encounter the ‘singularity’ of a phenomenon, of an event that could have happened only once, that they come up with divergent explanations.”

In this sense, Doran advised any scientist or truth-seeker to keep all options open, analyze the evidence, and then choose the conclusion that agrees best with it, admitting that they may be wrong on a particular issue and that they need to change it..

Scholar and believer
In the last part of her talk, Doran shared some of the elements that helped her choose to be a scientist and a believer at the same time. He mentioned biomimicry (systems or machines that have functions that mimic biological processes), molecular machines (natural or synthetic molecules that convert chemical energy into mechanical forces and motion), and animal altruism.

She concluded, “All of this helps me to be a believer. What the Bible says, that God created a perfect world in which all interactions were based on love, fits well with my observations of the natural world.”

[Foto e fonte: Adventist Review. Traduzione: L. Ferrara]

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