Apr 11, 2013 | By

Science and Religion Should Enlighten Each Other

April 11, 2013: We recently had dinner with a friend who mentioned that he had met a child of Professor Charles Townes. Professor Townes is now in his nineties. Remarkably, he is the only scientist to receive both a Nobel Prize (Physics-1964) and the Templeton Prize (2005), although Mother Teresa, Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama and Alexandr Solzhenitsyn have also been graced with dual awards. While Professor Townes may not be well known, his public comments in the early ‘60’s that “science and religion are not unrelated, and should be honestly and openly interacting” generated considerable interest as well as antagonism. His views are as valuable today as they were then. “While science and religion may seem different, they have many similarities, and should interact and enlighten each other… Science tries to understand what our universe is like and how it works, including us humans. Religion is aimed at understanding the purpose and meaning of our universe, including our own lives. If the universe has a purpose or meaning, this must be reflected in its structure and functioning, and hence in science. In addition, to best understand either science or religion, we must use all of our human resources – logic, evidence (observations or experiment), carefully chosen assumptions, intuition, and faith.” (from his Templeton Prize acceptance speech).

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