|On Speaking Terms|
|April 24, 2012|
OK, so we disagree on some key issues.
We are used to hearing of a stark war between the two cultures and of a total separation between facts and values. In our universities, the arts block and the science block tend to be well separated. But we will never make much sense of life if we do not somehow keep our various faculties on speaking terms with one another.
- Mary Midgley, Science and Poetry
Therefore let us encourage one another and build one another up...
-1 Thessalonians 5:11
Mary Midgley was referencing the "two cultures" template advanced by C. P. Snow in the previous century, in which science came to be regarded as the domain of facts and truth, while the arts are looked upon as the realm of emotions and values. It's not hard to understand why, given such a judgment, science gets all the serious attention in the education of our children, while the arts are just sort of along for the ride - if at all.
Dr. Midgley argues - and I agree - that science has much to learn from art. Thus, the two need to renew dialog and work together on behalf of truth. Her advice could well be applied to divergent views among Christians working in the sciences.
OK, so we disagree on some key issues - the origins of the universe and life chief among them. But rather than allow our disagreements to drive us apart, thus hopelessly frustrating any real attempt to restore a Christian presence in the sciences, we should use them as a way to renew dialog within the household of faith.
I should think that we might at least be able to talk about our disagreements, if only to make sure we understand one another clearly. Then we should get on with the work of prioritizing the critical issues in science studies and figuring out ways to address them together for the glory of God and the redemption of science.
Science on the secular trajectory can never hope to benefit humankind and the cosmos as much as science done to the glory of God. But if those who agree with this emphasis waste their precious energy in internecine disputes and disagreements, how will they ever get on to more substantive issues, including the training of a new generation of workers for the various scientific fields?
Obviously, it distresses me to see so much Christian verbiage wasted in knocking and mocking this or that Christian approach to the work of science. So where are the mediators, conciliators, facilitators, and visionaries who will lead us beyond these contests into greater endeavors of Christian cooperation in the sciences?
We need to be talking with one another more than about one another. If you agree with this idea, then join the convesations at CFSI and help us as we strive to find common ground on which to work for the liberation of science from its enslavement to a secular and materialist paradigm.
T. M. Moore
Senior Theologian and Historian