Culture, Science and Religion
You may be interested in reading several books that provide important perspectives on culture, science and religion. The first is Eric Reitan’s book, "Is God a Delusion: A Reply to Religion's Cultured Despisers.” Reitan provides compelling answers to those who seek to dismiss God and the faith of believers. In "The Rise of Scientific Philosophy" by Hans Reichenbach, University of California Press, 1951, we have a point of view that is opposed to Reitan's thinking. Reichenbach lays the foundation for knowledge that is based only upon that which can be perceived or tested. The late Professor Reichenbach was a student of Albert Einstein and Max Planck, among other famous thinkers of the 20th century. Mr. Hilary Putnam, a noted American philosopher, mathematician and computer scientist, may have been one of his most famous students. Putnam is a professor emeritus at Harvard. A collection of his recent papers, "Philosophy in An Age of Science" was published by Harvard University Press in 2012. There is an on-line bibliography of his writings up to 2005 at http://www.pragmatism.org/putnam.
A third book by the Dali Lama, "The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence and Spirituality" (2005) tries to bring science and religion together. The Dali Lama argues that science is not the only source of knowledge. He sees science and spirituality as two important sources of knowledge and well-being. He calls for a collaborative endeavor to help humanity meet the challenges before us.
Outside of books, we have to dig deep to find current dialogue on these important topics. Today’s media seem only interested in covering emotional controversies in the context of ongoing dramatic events, such as end of life decisions or freedom choose abortion v. right to life issues. What about the equally serious issues of ethics in scientific discovery, and controls on development of technologies? Anybody who has read Jurassic Park knows that author Dr. Michael Crichton used his novel to introduce the topic of ethics in scientific discovery in an entertaining, if not thrilling and chilling context. He coined the phrase “Thintelligence” referring to the scientists who created the monsters in the story as failing to see the “surround” or environment that would be impacted by their experiments. Who is responsible for calculating the risk of unintended consequences in the wake of scientific experimentation? Will the unknown, unknown be the end of us? Your thoughts are welcome.