Wouldn’t that be nice to find? I guess each of us needs to find it for ourselves. I was lucky – my father found it and passed it down. It wasn’t easy for him. No matter how rational we are, we still look for something beyond. It can make you crazy – to know one thing and hope for another. To hold both in your head, until the day we take that last breath that we know is coming for all the years we distract ourselves from thinking about it. But that’s what makes us human.
My father lived the last 27 years of his life in Glens Falls, NY. In the Fall of 1982, he wrote a letter to the editor of the Glens Falls Post Star newspaper. It was published in the “Your Viewpoints” section. I have a photocopy of the article on my refrigerator, but I don’t want that to be the only surviving copy. So here it is, reproduced in full.
Reconciling Modern Science with Religion
Readers who may be concerned about reconciliation of religious beliefs and progress in science may be interested in an article that appeared the September issue of the British science journal Nature.
Entitled “Twelve Wise Men of the Vatican,” the article summarizes a recent meeting of scholars at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Participants included paleontologists, geneticists, and molecular biologists from six countries, chaired by Carlos Chagas, president of the academy and scientific advisor to the pope.
The following is taken from the Nature article:
“The highest scientific body of the Catholic Church produced a strong statement supporting the evolutionary hypothesis as the explanation for the origin and diversity of living primates – just a few weeks after the 100th anniversary of Darwin’s death… The pope reportedly takes a keen interest in the activities of the academy.”
This acceptance of scientific verities brings to mind the address of Pius XII to the academy in 1946. Recognizing “that insights and perceptions of science are irrefutable,” the pope described and accepted the conclusions of astronomers and physicists related to the formation, properties, and evolution of the universe as known at that time (quoted from “The Bible as History,” by Werner Keller, translated by William Neil, author of “Harper’s Bible Commentary”).
In conflicts between religious dogma and scientific findings, science eventually prevails. This relates not only to the inductive methodology of science, but to its supra-sectarian constituency; all nations and religions are represented in science.
It is, however, not obvious that science and Christianity must be in conflict. The most significant and profound truths of the Old Testament and in the teachings of Jesus transcend dogma and are not at odds with the findings of science.
An integration of Christian theology with modern scientific humanism would generate greater spiritual force than either alone in coping with present, worldwide, societal problems.
Winfield W. Tyler
Glens Falls, NY
My father was not a genius. This is just rational discourse. And yet, look at what’s making headlines these days. As Einstein said, “We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.” Starting with each of us.