Sunday, September 18, 2005

Religion and Science: Peace in Our Time?

I've been wanting to say something here about the evolution wars, since God only knows there isn't enough debate going on in the blogosphere and elsewhere on that topic. Something vaguely in the vein of Stephen Jay Gould's manifesto for giving religion and science their separate spheres of influence, truce instead of war, etc. Maybe I'll get to that someday. In the meantime, the Dalai Lama has published a book on science and spirituality in which he apparently is prepared to accept that science can trump religion:
"My confidence in venturing into science lies in my basic belief that as in science so in Buddhism, understanding the nature of reality is pursued by means of critical investigation: if scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims."
-- His Holiness the Dalai Lama, as quoted in an article by Michael Shermer

Well that's a good start then. Actually his approach is much different from Gould's, though both are aiming at stopping the incessant strife between religion and science. Gould divides up reality in to what he calls Non-overlapping Magisteria, separate territories in other words. The Dalai Lama seems more intent on exploring a single reality by different means.

Update: George Johnson at the NYT does a mostly favorable review.

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