There was much interest in the recent debate between scientist, Bill Nye “The Science Guy” and evangelist and President of Answers in Genesis, Ken Ham. The debate was promoted as an intricate discussion that would clearly define “truth” when comparing science (evolution) and religion (creation).
Instead, it was a long talk in which Ham communicated that those who believe in creation can also be scientists and Nye explaining the importance of science in life. The debate ended with both sides stating that they do not have all of the answers and that it is possible that both science and religion can exist equally without having the need to prove the other side wrong.
A recent study seems to agree with the overall message from that debate. The “Religious Understanding of Science” survey conducted by Rice University and released by the American Association for the Advancement of Science surveyed 10,241 people and asked several questions about science and religion and the relationship between these two topics. The results are quite eye-opening and provide a good summary that has not been influenced by the media or other third parties.
The study found that nearly 50% of scientists identify themselves with a religious label or faith and almost 50% of evangelists believe that science and religion can work together and support one another. Those statistics were supported also by additional findings from the survey that indicated only 27% of Americans believe that science and religion are in conflict. These, and other interesting results, deliver a hopeful message that science and religion can indeed coexist and work in collaboration instead of the misconception that science and religion are hostile and should not be compatible.
Although this can be an encouraging message, there are still many experts that believe science and religion simply cannot be included in the same discussion and one does not support the other. When asked about the compatibility of science and religion, well known and celebrated physicist, Stephen Hawking, commented “There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority and science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works.”
The debate surrounding the compatibility of science and religion will continue on as it has in the past. Although the recent findings from the “Religious Understanding of Science” survey in encouraging to those involved in the science field, those involved in the religious field and everyone else who is interested in the two topics. Even though the topic of science and religion supporting each other will most certainly be questioned, it should be noted that an extremely intelligent scientist once said, “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” – Albert Einstein.