For as long as science and religion have existed, so has the rift between them. But as science presents ever more detailed explanations of our universe, there are those who question if science is beginning to unite with faith. It is this question that brought a council together in the UAA Campus Bookstore Nov. 1.
The panel of theologists, physicists and even a former dot-com CEO offered their views of religious place in a scientific world, sometimes agreeing with commonly held beliefs and sometimes contradicting them. The five panelists and the MC of the event each presented five to 10-minute impromptu speeches. The topics ranged from the religious backgrounds of the speakers and how their beliefs influenced their scientific careers to the how the scientific method compares to the blind belief of religion.
“Science is the development of theory that can be disproved, and it is the job of all scientists to try to disprove theories,” said David Freistroffer, a professor of biochemistry. “Religion is the creation of theory that it is impossible to test and therefore impossible to disprove.”
Yet not every attendant at the discussion thought there was such a gap between modern science and religion. Local resident Kathryn Breaks thinks the gap between religion and science has begun to narrow.
“Look at the most recent theories accepted by the scientific community, string theory for example. It is impossible to test, does that mean it isn’t science? It seems to me that if science can accept what cannot be proven that is not such a far jump from religion, where people choose to believe,” Breaks said.
The final two speeches brought up an interesting new technology that blended the ideas of faith and science. Professor Lyn Freeman and her husband Derek Welton presented a new scanning machine, called Gas Discharge Visualization, in use in Russia that they plan to test for use here in the states. Scanning the electromagnetic emissions produced by the fingertips, the data are extrapolated into a form depicting the entire body.
While Eastern medicine has been proven to have beneficial uses, it tends not to be held in high scientific regard due to its religious affiliations. It was the question of whether such affiliations should label the GDV outside of the realm of science dominated much of the open discussion. Most of the panelists challenged the credibility of the GDV, but Freeman and Welton defended its potential. The night closed with the issue still unresolved.