Science, Religion, COVID-19 and an Unexpected Opinion

Earth seen from the Rosetta spacecraft. From  ESA (MPS for OSIRIS Team), MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/RSSD/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA (November 23, 2009) used w/o permission.

If you haven’t already, you’ll soon read about a new development in the war between science and religion.

Hubble image of the Westerlund 2 star cluster. (February 2017)Alleged war, at any rate.

I can’t read the original piece in The New York Times, since it’s behind a paywall and my household budget permits only a limited degree of unnecessary spending.

A subscription to The New York Times isn’t nearly high enough in my priorities to even make the list, and that’s another topic.

I did, however, find this snippet in an online blurb:

“…I worship each Sunday with physicians. My church prayed for an end to the pandemic and asked God to help scientists in their vaccine research. We never saw a conflict between the work of God and efforts of science….”
(“How Covid Raised the Stakes of the War Between Faith and Science,” Tish Harrison Warren, The New York Times (November 7, 2021))

That was not, putting it mildly, what I expected to read.

Over the last half-century-plus, I’ve seen the occasional assertion that faith and reason, science and religion, aren’t mutually exclusive; but I’ve seen such claims mostly in science-oriented periodicals.

Seeing what seems to be at least speculation that ‘willful ignorance’ is not a foundational requirement for Christian faith in a mainstream newspaper? I’ll take that as good news.

“…Anti-Science Rhetoric of a Minority of Christians….” Interesting!

Hubble Space Telescope's image of in the Carina Nebula region. From NASA, ESA, Z. Levay (STScI); via Wikimedia Commons; used w/o permission. (2007)Again, I don’t have access to T. H. Warren’s piece, so I can’t know whether it concludes with a tentative conclusion that maybe Christians aren’t all anti-science twits.

On the other hand, I think that’s a real possibility. Partly because I found this, in a review of the Times piece:

“…If the cultural conversation requires people to choose between their faith and science, most will choose faith, but we don’t have to ask people to choose. It is a false choice.
“At the same time, Haarsma said, there are Christians who present faith as opposed to the obvious, instead of ‘faith as a commitment lived in response’ to the evidence. She also said the passionate anti-science rhetoric of a minority of Christians online encourages scientists to reject people of faith as a whole….”
(“Reviews | How Covid raised the stakes in the war between faith and science” newsnetdaily.com (November 7, 2021))

The newsnetdaily.com review doesn’t identify “Haarsma,” but I suspect that the reference is to Deborah Haarsma.

She’s a research scientist and former professor at the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Calvin University. She did her doctoral work in astrophysics at MIT, undergraduate work in physics and music at Bethel University.1

With those credentials, I’m pretty sure she’s not a Catholic. But I’d also say that most Americans would acknowledge that she’s a Christian. Even though she is a scientist.

Opinions, Priorities and My Plans for the Week

COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card. (June 11, 2021)

The COVID-19 pandemic is still in progress, and I’m still encountering more-or-less-daft pandemic-related opinions and claims. So I could spend the rest of this week looking up who’s saying what, and why I still think getting vaccinated was a good idea.

But I’ve already talked about viruses, vaccines and why I think acting as if my neighbors matter is a good idea. Rather often.

Besides, “A Star by Any Other Name” is long overdue. I should have it ready by Saturday.

Collage, graphics from CDC Coronavirus pages. (August 2021)Finally, some of what I’ve said about science and religion, COVID-19 and the common good:


1 This may or may not be the “Haarsma” quoted in this week’s piece:

About Brian H. Gill

I was born in 1951. I'm a husband, father and grandfather. One of the kids graduated from college in December, 2008, and is helping her husband run businesses and raise my granddaughter; another is a cartoonist and artist; #3 daughter is a writer; my son is developing a digital game with #3 and #1 daughters. I'm also a writer and artist.
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2 Responses to Science, Religion, COVID-19 and an Unexpected Opinion

  1. mr o shays says:

    The Covid19 has mutated, discovered in Israel so more spreading increases & deaths to follow.

Thanks for taking time to comment!