With science, challenges are welcome
Editor of the Reformer:
One of the primary elements of good science is to be challenged. Challenge is a welcome, necessary and learning component of all science. Change and new discoveries are expected by any good scientist. And, theoretical and practical sciences are the most self-correcting of all human intellectual disciplines. All of which helps to keep science alive and relevant.
Too many non-scientists use those components, however, as a wedge or a club to make us think that science is unstable, unreliable, does not "know everything" and that science cannot reach proven conclusions because waiting around the corner is another change.
The notion or implication that science is constantly changing and therefore there is no such thing as little or no established science simply isn't true. That is usually an assertion by people with opinions or beliefs who have a poor understanding of science.
One of the troubling more recent developments in science progress is retrograde by believers. Whenever believers or religions insert themselves into the disciplines of "the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment," good science will surely suffer. Why? Because believing is a debasement and contamination of the natural sciences. Science is depended on the research, development and organization of knowledge, not faith.
Nevertheless, Albert Einstein caved to the believers the year before his death in 1955 in Princeton, New Jersey. Einstein was never funded by atheists or nonbelievers, and, in many respects, in the society of believers that Einstein lived and taught in, he could never be entirely true to himself because he understood that he was dependent on American financing. In those days, the United States was a "Christian" country, no questions asked.
So in 1954 Einstein wrote the essay, Science and Religion, where he says "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." That statement is often quoted by believers who assert that there is an association between science and faith. In a sense, Einstein, in order to help preserve his life's work, gave them what they wanted — a paragraph or two to make an association between faith and science to protect his legacy.
Had Einstein lived in this generation where there is a growing population and social acceptance of agnostics, atheists and nonbelievers, he may not have had the need to be as sensitive to the power and undue influence that Christian religions exerted on the American academic institutions and social behaviors of his time.
Beliefs are personal, multifarious and extremely individualized, even in the context of with or without accepted dogma. At no time should religion or believers think that they can count science among their precepts. Science "can give no solace to the faithful" and vice-versa.
Thus, it is necessary and intended that a "wall of separation" between science and beliefs must always exist between the two.
Vidda Crochetta, Brattleboro, Sept. 8