• Question: In your opinion, do religion and science have to clash? Can someone be a scientist whilst also being religious?

    Asked by Phoebe on 26 Jan 2018.
    • Photo: Jonathan Kay

      Jonathan Kay answered on 26 Jan 2018:

      “Can someone be a scientist whilst also being religious?”
      Definitely yes. There are lots of good examples. However scientists are generally less religious than other people.
      “In your opinion, do religion and science have to clash?”
      Many religious beliefs are not consistent with what we have discovered. Anyone holding such beliefs then has various options: change them, hold inconsistent views, say that they were metaphorical or something similar, or deny what we have discovered.
      I’ve just made a very harsh statement. It’s probably also worth stating that the freedom to hold religious beliefs is very important, as is the right to carry out religious practices, up to the precise point where they affect others.

    • Photo: Dmitry Dereshev

      Dmitry Dereshev answered on 26 Jan 2018:

      Historically, a number of scientist were deeply religious, from Gregor Mendel (“father of genetics”) to Max Plank (quantum theory). So yes, one can be a scientist and a religious person at the same time.

    • Photo: Sarah Finnegan

      Sarah Finnegan answered on 26 Jan 2018:

      I know lots of scientists who are deeply religious people so I don’t think the two have to clash. Its up to you whether you want to keep them separate or bring the approaches you use in science to your personal belief system or vice versa. Things are so rarely black and white, in science like religion it can be often about interpretation.

    • Photo: Rebecca Dewey

      Rebecca Dewey answered on 5 Feb 2018:

      I think it depends on what area of science you’re thinking about and how much the two conflict in your own mind. I work in medical physics, which doesn’t necessarily conflict with religion at all. However I need to believe that we (as humans) have the capacity to make medical advancements and that everything isn’t just in God’s hands or up to some higher power.

      It’s also really important to accept that for things for which there is no scientific proof (i.e. whether or not forces exist outside our understanding) that everything you hear and read is just opinion and you need to decide for yourself what is best for you to believe.