Are Science and Religious Faith Incompatible?
Science news, comment and analysis | guardian.co.uk Download time: Apr 16 2011 8:26 AM ET
Last week, the astrophysicist Martin Rees was awarded the Templeton prize, which aims to promote religion. Emine Saner brings together atheist writer and neuroscientist Sam Harris and Professor Robert Winston to discuss the conflict between science and faith. So, should Rees have accepted that award?
Sam Harris: No. There is a price paid whenever an eminent scientist pretends that there's no conflict between the claims of science and religion. I mean no special criticism of Rees – I think he's someone who believes, perhaps as you do, that it is pragmatic to try to teach science wherever people are willing to listen, and not criticise faith and try to allay the points of conflict as much as possible. That's a political position which I think is in the end unsustainable.
Robert Winston: I see nothing wrong with a scientist accepting the Templeton prize, with somebody trying to promote what they loosely call "spirituality". Whether it does any good is another matter. I don't think it takes away at all from his distinction in science.
SH: Religious language is, without question, unscientific in its claims for what is true.…