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Salvo 26 Science & Faith Supplement
While many blame the so-called war between science and faith on "fundamentalists" who oppose the theory of evolution, the war has been greatly escalated by those who claim that science is the only reliable path to knowledge and who even assert that science has disproved God and rendered faith superfluous. This attack on religion is not the fault of science but of those who misuse science for an unscientific agenda.
Indeed, must science and faith be opposed? Nobel laureate, physicist, chemist, and mathematician William H. Bragg (1862–1942) addressed the question this way: "Sometimes people ask if religion and science are not opposed to one another. They are: in the sense that the thumb and fingers of my hands are opposed to one another. It is an opposition by means of which anything can be grasped."
Science and faith are both found together inside man and nowhere else in the cosmos. They work together exquisitely in the human mind. Science is a human endeavor; the human agent is essential.
Nor can science exist apart from faith—faith in non-material things such as the laws of reason, logic, and mathematics, and in the comprehensibility of the universe. We also have faith that God's existence can be "clearly perceived" in the natural order (Romans 1:20), that is, in the book of nature. Revelation and nature are best read together.
The articles in this special Salvo Supplement bring the perspectives of faith and science together so we may better grasp the truth. •
I have an especially close relationship with my oldest nephew, Elijah. I have no sons of my own (three young daughters!), and he and I share an affinity for all things science fiction and fantasy. Plus, he lives a block away from me, which means that he often visits my man cave to play Xbox, watch episodes of Firefly and Dr. Who, and peruse my comic book collection.
This year, Elijah begins high school, and it was he I had in mind when I was putting together this special Salvo issue on science and faith. Now don't go letting on that you know (he hardly needs the ego boost), but Elijah is extremely bright, possessing a mind far superior to mine at his age. But his brain is not fully developed yet (and according to recent research, won't be until his late twenties), and this makes him particularly susceptible to the indoctrination he will soon encounter at the secondary-education level.
Not all secular academic instruction is harmful, of course, and I'll be excited to see him develop his writing skills, excel in mathematics in a way I never could, and begin harnessing the abstract thinking that has made him so inquisitive and creative at such an early stage in his life. What I am not looking forward to, however, is watching him wrestle with the Darwinism that is de rigueur in the public science classroom and that will undoubtedly intrigue him and then challenge the Christian faith in which he was raised.
What Elijah will need is a handbook on science and faith, something filled with easy-to-digest facts that he can reference throughout his high-school and college educations—a compendium of all that we really know about the origins and development of the universe, and how that knowledge squares with religious belief. My hope is that we here at Salvo have created just such a manual, and that what you now hold in your hands will go a long way toward keeping my nephew grounded in truth.
Chances are that you have more years under your belt than Elijah. But that doesn't mean that this issue isn't for you as well. We are all beguiled at times by the scientific misinformation that too often emanates from the mainstream media, and many of us harbor misunderstandings regarding the essence and meaning of faith, particularly when science enters the equation. This resource aims to change that, spelling out for each of us, the young, old, and in-between, the facts about what science and faith can and cannot tell us, respectively.
The issue is divided into three sections—one focusing on science (Scientia), one focusing on faith (Fides), and one focusing on the conflicts between the two (SciFi)—but feel free to read individual articles outside of these contexts. Indeed, this supplement was actually not designed to be perused in a single sitting (although you should feel free to do that as well), but rather is meant to be a place for you to locate specific answers to specific questions whenever the need arises.
Toward that end, we have also included a glossary of terms (Passwords) whose definitions are critical to a proper understanding of the faith/science conversation, as well as profiles of the individuals who have most influenced this same discussion. Finally, rather than listing the credentials of our contributors at the beginning of the magazine, we have placed them alongside the articles themselves, because we want to be sure you see just how qualified our writers and interview subjects are on the topics that they tackle.
All this to say that we have done our utmost to make this a comprehensive, accessible, and authoritative reference tool for those seeking clarity on the various issues surrounding science and faith. My nephew Elijah may not make use of it yet, but my sincere conviction is that this handbook could someday make the difference in determining whether he retains his belief in God or succumbs to the a priori atheism of scientific naturalism. I pray the same holds true for you. •
—Bobby Maddex,Senior Editor, Salvo
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