Science in Christian Perspective
Letter to the Editor
Response to Winder
Walter R. Hearn, ASA Fellow
762 Arlington Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94707
From: PSCF 48 (December 1996): 282.
G. Gordon Winder's letter (Sept. 1996, p. 211) argues that ASA should revise its Statement of Faith to include a statement that science and religion are "compatible." He points to Christians as unique among religionists in expecting debate between "science and religion." Yet debate is vigorous within science, between religions, and within any religion with enough intellectual content to support theological reflection. Why should debate not occur when Christianity interacts with science?
In publishing Teaching Science in a Climate of Controversy, ASA has made at least one effort to "pursue compromise and conciliation to initiate resolution," as urged by Winder. Responses to that publication from hard-nosed atheists in the scientific community indicated that for ASA to "declare compatibility" would have no more influence on the real situation than the U.S. declaration of victory had in the Vietnam War. To some scientists, endorsing any statement of Christian faith was enough to demonstrate that the ASA authors could not be "real scientists."
By signing the ASA statement, thousands of scientists provide abundant evidence that science and Christianity do meet harmoniously in individual lives. Within the ASA "forum," I find the debates more often between two ways of interpreting scientific data, or two ways of drawing theological conclusions, than between "science and Christianity." Besides sharpening our ideas, debates within ASA make our unity in Jesus Christ all the more obvious: they give us opportunities to show love for those with whom we disagree.