Response to "Evolution Debate Important"
This letter to the the editor of the Brandon Sun was in response to my column Evolution Debate Important, which was published in the Brandon Sun on December 26, 2009. This letter is reprinted by permission, Brandon Sun:
The art of combining science and religionLetter to the the editor, Brandon Sun, December 30, 2009
It was gratifying to see David McConkey (Evolution Debate Important, Dec. 26) pick up the ball I dropped about teaching science and religion and run with it. His suggestion that aboriginal religion be included was particularly inspired.
I understand that native creation stories have nothing equivalent to the Fall (of Adam), which should make for interesting comparisons, since the Genesis stories are said to account for women being subtly blamed for everything in Western culture, and guilt being never far from the surface, as in most of them generally feeling they are bad mothers.
I didn’t express myself clearly, though. Teaching science and religion together, as I suggested, is much trickier and altogether different from teaching them separately. I “did” St. Mark’s gospel 45 years ago in exactly the same way that the English department “did” Julius Caesar.
I also taught the same boys permanganate equations, but ne’er the twain (RE and chemistry) did meet.
Teaching religion(s) would, as Mr McConkey says, greatly deepen Canadian self-knowledge and probably do a lot of healing in the process.
Teaching a science and religion course at a Grade 12 or university level is not a sneaky attempt to refill the churches because it wouldn’t. What it might do is enable a few young people to think clearly because there is almost as much nonsense talked about the claims of science as there is about religion.
And clarity of thought is a far more long-lasting gift than a headful of quickly forgotten facts about the laws of thermodynamics.
One of the first things they would learn is that in serious theology, the two Genesis creation myths have nothing whatever to do with beginnings (the Big Bang) but hint at a present reality (if they are a reality at all), much more in keeping with Fred Hoyle’s theory of continuous creation.
I would take gentle issue with Chris Gibson in his sympathetic letter (Creationist Argument Must Evolve, Dec. 24) that science and religion are apples and oranges.
Though he may not agree with the mystics, who have always maintained this world is one entity, science too is coming to the same conclusion.
The Bell theorem, which tries to explain the observed fact that once two molecules have met, they remember each other for ever after, has been extended by some physicists to say that the entire universe is but one giant wave, and all its contents are ripples of that wave.
I would be the first to say that religion must first clean up its act, by discarding woolly, sentimental and outdated thinking, but if science and religion are the two main ways of looking at the one great truth of our universe, then I fail to see any reason why the combined subjects should not be taught in schools.
REV. MICHAEL SKLIROS, Brandon
(Ed. note: Rev. Skliros also writes a regular column on religion in your Saturday Brandon Sun.)
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Stranger Than We Can Imagine:
An Alternative History of the 20th Century
Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now
Islam and the Future of Tolerance:
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The Evidence for Evolution