"Heretics in the Laboratory"--Newsweek (9/16/96)

Richard L. Bowman (rbowman@Bridgewater.EDU)
Tue, 24 Sep 1996 11:51:43 -0400 (EDT)

There is an interesting article in the 9-16 issue of _Newsweek_ entitled,
"Heretics in the Laboratory." My reading of it was that in addition to
reporting on some Christians who are scientists and their views, it also
demonstrated a strong philosophical bias itself. The concluding paragraph
I thought was particularly at fault.

My own philosophy is that God probably used at least some evolutionary
processes to accomplish his purposes. So I was not disagreeing with those
conclusions but rather with the idea that to believe in God being involved
in creating the universe is not being a "good" scientist.

So I sent the following letter to the editor of _Newsweek_. But from the
sheer volume of these letters, I doubt if the chances of publication are
very great.

Anybody have comments?

Richard Bowman

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 1996 09:56:03 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Richard L. Bowman" <rbowman@bridgewater.edu>
To: letters@newsweek.com
Subject: Re: "Heretics in the Laboratory"

Sharon Begley writes in "Heretics in the Laboratory" (Sept. 16), "...a
powerful ideology, be it creationism or capitalism or anything else, can
shape some scientists' conclusions as strongly as any empirical evidence."
I would add evolution to the list of ideologies, too. Too often we
confuse laboratory evidence with the model arising from that evidence.
The evidence in astronomy, geology and biology is such that a scientist
can create a model allowing for long and slow processes to have brought
the universe to where it is today. But a scientist can also use this
evidence to support a model in which there was and is an intelligent
supernatural being using these processes for his purpose. Whether we
include God in the model or not is not based on the evidence but on our
philosophical assumptions.

Dr. Richard L. Bowman, Chair
Dept. of Physics e-mail: rbowman@bridgewater.edu
Bridgewater College phone: 540-828-5441
Bridgewater, VA 22812 FAX: 540-828-5479