‘Does science make belief in God obsolete?’

The folks at the Templeton Foundation have released their latest Q&A with scientists and other scholars about the “big questions.”

The new one, which ran as a two-page ad in the NYT’s Week in Review, centers around this meaty question: “Does science make belief in God obsolete?”

The 13 answers cover the gamut and are worth reading. Among them…

William D. Phillips, a Nobel Laureate in physics, says “absolute not:”

I am a physicist. I do mainstream research; I publish in peer-reviewed journals; I present my research at professional meetings; I train students and postdoctoral researchers; I try to learn from nature how nature works. In other words, I am an ordinary scientist. I am also a person of religious faith. I attend church; I sing in the gospel choir; I go to Sunday school; I pray regularly; I try to “do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God.” In other words, I am an ordinary person of faith.

Stuart Kauffman, the director of the Institute for Biocomplexity and Informatics at the University of Calgary, says “No, but only if…”

we continue to develop new notions of God, such as a fully natural God that is the creativity in the cosmos.

Humans have been worshipping gods for thousands of years. Our sense of God in the Western world has evolved from Abraham’s jealous God Yahweh to the God of love of the New Testament. Science and faith have split modern societies just as some form of global civilization is emerging. One result is a retreat into religious fundamentalisms, often bitterly hostile. The schism between science and religion can be healed, but it will require a slow evolution from a supernatural, theistic God to a new sense of a fully natural God as our chosen symbol for the ceaseless creativity in the natural universe. This healing may also require a transformation of science to a new scientific worldview with a place for the ceaseless creativity in the universe that we can call God.

You can also read Christopher Hitchens’ answer. Guess what it is?