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Sense and sensibility

Traditionally an old years end is the time of reflections. No, I do not mean the bright glittering snow in some people winter holidays. I am talking about thoughts regarding the sense of life. Did I get the best out of the old year? Could I have done something better? What will be in the new year, what challenges and tasks are waiting for me? And what are my personal priorities in life?

As a young PhD student – quite a few years ago – I read a Science article by Gregg Easterbrook about the social as well as ethical conflicts between science and religion. Surprisingly it did not pick out the inconsistency of both but their reconciliation as a central theme.

During these days I have had many committed discussions as a scientist defending the evolutionary theory against creationists as well as defending my Christian faith against science believers. Yes, I am a Christian and a scientist (but not a “christian scientist”!). To my opinion there is no true incompatibility but just two sides of a single coin. And so I always found myself between the lines.

Assumed there would really be incompatibility. Should it not be possible to have the sensibility to tolerate each others position? Should it not be possible to have the sensibility to accept that there are different levels of consciousness? Let us have a look to some of the battles fought in the US “bible belt” about what children should be tought in school, e.g.. Sorry for being honest but sometimes it seems to me like children from the kindergarden squabbling for their Lego. Who is going to tell them that they will have more fun and will be more successful when playing together?

Telling you my point of view: science is giving the knowledge, faith – independent if Christian, Islamic, Hindu, Naturalistic, or whatever – is giving the sense. Both together create wisdom.

In other words, science tells us how the world works, religion tells us for what the world works. One cannot without the other, or as Gregg Easterbrook used to say “they have linked destinies”.

Originally published in January 2001 by Inside-Lifescience, ISSN 1610-0255.