‘Nature’ Essay Warms Up to Religion!

The British journal ‘Nature’ (24 February) features a fascinating essay called ‘Fighting the Wrong Battle.’ Written by Geoffrey Cantor, who teaches at the University of Leeds in England, the essay claims that scientists who scoff at religious beliefs miss a major point and actually damage their cause.

Dr. Cantor writes: ‘It has become fashionable among scientists with a high media profile to portray religion as the necessary foe of science.’ He continues: ‘Surely [this is] an unwise strategy . . . calculated to make scientists appear unreasonable and dogmatic.’

He also contends that the ‘tirades’ of evolutionary scientists (such as Dr. Richard Dawkins of ‘Blind Watchmaker’ fame) show that they have only a ‘superficial understanding of religion.’ He argues that taking cheap shots at religion isn't a good strategy if one's desire is to have the general public take science seriously.

Although Cantor argues that some religious groups have been so critical of science that they have impeded scientific progress, he does give credit to religious groups who have provided the motivation for pursuing scientific endeavors. He cites, for example, Newton and Faraday as eminent scientists who, because of their belief in God, had a better understanding of science and saw no conflict whatsoever between a Creator God and science.

The author also says that religion provides people with social values and emotional warmth that ‘science cannot offer.’ He also concludes that issues of ‘science and religion’ are important, but should not be left to either the devoutly religious scientists or the atheist scientists on the other end of the spectrum.

As we have pointed out many times, the creation versus evolution issue is not one that is just religion versus science. Rather, it is more a battle between two opposing world-views. As the author of the ‘Nature’ article points out, many of the great scientists of the past believed in a Creator, and they were able to make great strides in their research as they based their thinking on an understanding of Scripture.

For biographical sketches of some of these great scientists, please visit the FAQ section of our website, and select ‘Biographical Sketches’ from the list of options.

Published: 11 February 2006