On scientific truth and Christian truth…

07/16/2004

In the middle of an article about the way that the religious right have interfered with scientific work in the US, I find a troubling paragraph:

At a time when biology is poised to undergo a fundamental revolution, the US government, arguably the most potent government in the history of the world, is rife with White House appointees who believe that scientific truth and Christian truth cannot be synonymous, and may well be in opposition.

I ask myself – do I believe that scientific truth and Christian truth can be synonymous? My answer – no. I ask myself – do I believe that they may well be in opposition? My answer – yes. The only difference between me and the people from the religious right then, is that we disagree with which ‘truth’ is the more reliable. I stick on the side of the people who test their conclusions and refine their belief systems with reference to evidence – they stick to the side of the people who believe that a magic being sets bushes on fire and turns women into salt.

So the scary bit for me is not that the nutters in power believe that the two are incompatible, but that the assumption is that for reasonable, normal, run-of-the-mill scientists all across America that it’s normal to be able to reconcile meteorology with the concept of rains of blood and biology with people who bring people back from the dead…