The Universe in a Single Atom

From: Randy Isaac <>
Date: Tue Sep 20 2005 - 21:00:52 EDT

The NYTimes Sunday book review carried an article about the Dalai Lama's recent book, "The Universe in a Single Atom: Reason and Faith"

George Johnson writes in his review that
"....Spirituality is about the ineffable and unprovable, science about the physical world of demonstrable fact. Faced with two such contradictory enterprises, divergence would be a better goal. The last thing anyone needs is another attempt to contort biology to fit a particular religion or to use cosmology to prove the existence of God.

But this book offers something wiser: a compassionate and clearheaded account by a religious leader who not only respects science but, for the most part, embraces it. "If scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims," he writes. No one who wants to understand the world "can ignore the basic insights of theories as key as evolution, relativity and quantum mechanics."

That is an extraordinary concession compared with the Christian apologias that dominate conferences devoted to reconciling science and religion. The "dialogues" implicitly begin with nonnegotiables - "Given that Jesus died on the cross and was bodily resurrected into heaven. . ." - then seek scientific justification for what is already assumed to be true....."

This seems to be a rather lopsided type of integration of reason and faith. Science gets to trump faith at every turn. On the other hand, can any of you really cite an example where faith and revelation affected science? (not the metaphysical meaning of science)

Received on Tue Sep 20 21:01:57 2005

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