When Worldviews Collide
Can theories of evolution coexist with theological ideals revered for centuries? Discussion between Oxford atheist Richard Dawkins and Christian genome pioneer Francis Collins provided a platform for opposing views. Many readers believed there's room for both ideas and lauded such an open talk
The "God vs. Science" debate between Richard Dawkins and Francis Collins was fascinating [Nov. 13]. The arguments on both sides of the issue, however, are irrefutable because, in the last analysis, they are subjective. Trying to prove one side or the other results in a never-ending battle of words that makes reconciliation and progress impossible. It's important that we show respect for all reasonable beliefs, even when they strongly conflict with our own.
DANIEL JOHN BIEZAD San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Scientists will not find God unless they think outside the box, as Collins has done. Faith and miracles, so central to Christian thought, are anathema to the scientific method, as Dawkins reaffirms. "Why am I here?" and "Is there a God?" are questions that cannot be answered by science. God comes to those who have the insight to think in another dimension and have the wisdom of a child. Collins has both; Dawkins has neither.
JOHN S. MACKIEWICZ PROFESSOR EMERITUS BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK Albany, N.Y.
Pitting science against religion is demeaning to scientists. Science is not a side you can choose to be on; it is where we live and what we are. The scientific community seeks to discover the truth about the physical world, not make up stories. Your debate might as well set religion against gravitation or the speed of light: known facts that inform us about the universe. Science gave us physics and medicine, as well as evolution, which unfortunately has aspects that can be exploited by doubters. But if we left discovery up to the religious right, we might still think the earth is flat.
CHRIS JONGKIND London, Ont.
What intelligent designer came up with cancer and toothaches? Who "designed" your appendix and tonsils, organs that do nothing but get infected and cause you grief? How intelligent is the famously fragile human spine, or the narrow pelvis that makes childbirth harder for humans than for almost any other species? There are evolutionary explanations for all of these, but I hardly think there was much intelligence in designing halitosis, acne and flatulence.
LAWRENCE DORR South San Francisco, Calif.
Science and religion seemingly cannot coexist because religion is all about the past and science is all about the future. Scientists and theologians need to stop making the mistake of equating the concept of God with religious doctrines. Every scientific breakthrough reinforces my belief that God cannot be contained by the confines of religion or science.
JUNE DORDAL Moorhead, Minn.
When considering the arguments of "God vs. Science," I always revert to the notion that we're not as smart as we think we are. The arrogance of the atheists in thinking they've figured it all out is matched only by the arrogance of the religious zealots who think the same.
CHRIS KEARNEY Abilene, Texas