Physics Today: Thinking differently about science and religion

  • Article (Letter to Editor) and Responses
  • 9 pages (total)
  • Level: all audiences

In February 2018 the journal Physics Today published a letter by Tom McLeish, Professor of Physics at Durham University, chair of the Royal Society’s education committee, and author of the book Faith and Wisdom in Science (Oxford University Press, 2014). The following June Physics Today published a number of responses to McLeish’s letter, along with additional remarks from McLeish.  McLeish writes:

Driving an unhistorical and unrealistic wedge between science and religion has got to stop. It leads, in part, to the optionalism that we see in some public and political attitudes toward science, from climate change to vaccination. It damages the educational experience of our children, and it impoverishes our understanding of our own science’s historical context. Human beings live not only in a physical world but within historical narratives that give us values, purpose, and identity. Science sits on the branches and draws from the sap of many of those stories whose roots are anchored in the great themes of creation, redemption, and renewal that course through our religious traditions and endow us with humanity. We are still looking for answers to some of the questions God asks of the luckless Job:

Have you comprehended the vast
expanses of the Earth? . . .
What is the way to the place where
lightning is dispersed . . . ?
Can you bind the beautiful

Click here to download McLeish’s February 2018 letter (PDF courtesy of Physics Today); click here to read from the Physics Today website.

Click here to download the June 2018 responses (PDF courtesy of Physics Today); click here to read from the Physics Today website.