Sunday, March 30, 2008
God and Science
It strikes me (and I will not support this claim in depth) that there are two subjects we teach especially poorly - God and Science!
We attempt to teach about "God" in religious institutions and omit if from educational institutions and we teach science in schools and omit it (for the most part) from the education that takes place in religious institutions.
In both cases we teach as if we "know" when in both cases we don't. What scientist "knows" infinity and what theologian "knows" God?
In my opinion, both will ultimately agree. Both investigate reality.
The problem I see with science education is that it is taught as if we can understand infinity and we clearly can not. Infinity is a construct - a placeholder, because we don't have a better answer. We ask, "Where does the universe end?" and science responds, "It goes on forever." The real answer is we don't know. If we did know, we could calculate how long it will take to reach there without another "infinity" answer.
In religion, there are similar educational conundrums. We conclude that there is some force much greater than we humans. It makes logical sense. But what we teach children is about Santa Claus and the tooth fairy. The problem with such personifications of an unknown reality is that children are smart. At some point they figure out the lie and they throw the baby and the bath water out of the window.
Both scientific and religious discoveries must be taught from a more investigative point of view. Then, children will derive useful meaning from the construct and the metaphors.