Here are some interesting quotes on the general topic of modern science and religion. Solid references are provided whenever possible. The entries are listed here alphabetically by the surname of the author.
DISCLAIMER: The editor has carefully checked the references, but he cannot guarantee that they are correct in all cases. Further, the editor does not necessarily endorse the views expressed in these quotes -- they are presented only for general interest in the field.
Like all religious fundamentalists, the new atheists believe that they alone are in possession of truth; like Christian fundamentalists, they read scripture in an entirely literal manner and seem never to have heard of the long tradition of allegoric or Talmudic interpretation or indeed of the Higher Criticism. ... Like Protestant fundamentalists, Dawkins has a simplistic view of the moral teaching of the Bible, taking it for granted that its chief purpose is to issue clear rules of conduct and provide us with "role models," which, not surprisingly, he finds lamentably inadequate. He also presumes that since the Bible claims to be inspired by God, it must also provide scientific information. Dawkins's only point of disagreement with the Protestant fundamentalists is that he finds the Bible unreliable about science while they do not. ... -- Karen Armstrong (historian), The Case for God, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2009, pg. 303.
[The Genesis text] was emphatically not intended as a literal account of the physical origins of life. -- Karen Armstrong (historian), The Case for God, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2009, pg. 44.
With the scriptures it is a matter of treating about the faith. For that reason, as I have noted repeatedly, if anyone, not understanding the mode of divine eloquence, should find something about these matters [about the physical universe] in our books, or hear of the same from those books, of such a kind that it seems to be at variance with the perceptions of his own rational faculties, let him believe that these other things are in no way necessary to the admonitions or accounts or predictions of the scriptures. -- Saint Augustine (5thC theologian), "The Literal Meaning of Genesis," in J. H. Taylor, trans., Ancient Christian Writers, Newman Press, 1982, vol. 1, pg. 42-43.
It not infrequently happens that something about the earth, about the sky, about other elements of this world, about the motion and rotation or even the magnitude and distances of the stars, about definite eclipses of the sun and moon, about the passage of years and seasons, about the nature of animals, of fruits, of stones, and of other such things, may be known with the greatest certainty by reasoning or by experience, even by one who is not a Christian. It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are. In view of this and in keeping it in mind constantly while dealing with the book of Genesis, I have, insofar as I was able, explained in detail and set forth for consideration the meanings of obscure passages, taking care not to affirm rashly some one meaning to the prejudice of another and perhaps better explanation. -- Saint Augustine (5thC theologian), "The Literal Meaning of Genesis," in J. H. Taylor, trans., Ancient Christian Writers, Newman Press, 1982, vol. 1, pg. 70.
Scientific knowledge cannot contradict religious beliefs, because science has nothing definitive to say for or against religious inspiration, religious realities, or religious values. -- Francisco J. Ayala (American biologist and Dominican Priest), Darwin's Gift to Science and Religion, Joseph Henry Press, Washington, DC, 2007, pg. 174.
Similarly, at the personal level of the individual, I can believe that I am God's creature without denying that I developed from a single cell in my mother's womb by natural processes. In theological parlance, God may act through secondary causes. For the believer the providence of God impacts personal life and world events through natural causes. -- Francisco J. Ayala (American biologist and Dominican Priest), Darwin's Gift to Science and Religion, Joseph Henry Press, Washington, DC, 2007, pg. 175.
As floods and drought were a necessary consequence of the fabric of the physical world, predators and parasites, dysfunctions and diseases were a consequence of the evolution of life. They were not a result of deficient or malevolent design. ... Evolution by natural selection is Darwin's answer to Paley. It is also the solution to the last prong of the problem of evil. -- Francisco J. Ayala (American biologist and Dominican Priest), Darwin's Gift to Science and Religion, Joseph Henry Press, Washington, 2007, pg. 5.
Our monotheistic traditions reinforce the assumption that the Universe is at root a unity, that it is not governed by different legislation in different places, neither the residue of some clash of the Titans wrestling to impose their arbitrary wills upon the nature of things, nor the compromise of some cosmic committee. Our Western religious tradition also endows us with the assumption that things are governed by a logic that exists independently of those things, that laws are externally imposed as though they were the decrees of a transcendent divine legislator. -- John D. Barrow (British physicist), New Theories of Everything, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, 2007, pg. 18.
The ubiquity of chaotic phenomena raises a further problem for our dreams of omniscience through the medium of a Theory of Everything. Even if we can overcome the problem of initial conditions to determine the most natural or uniquely consistent starting state, we may have to face the reality that there is inevitable uncertainty surrounding the prescription of the initial state which makes the prediction of the exact future state of the Universe impossible. Only statistical statements will be possible. -- John D. Barrow (British physicist), New Theories of Everything, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, 2007, pg. 66.
There is no reason why life has to evolve in the Universe. Such complex step-by-step processes are not predictable because of their very sensitive dependence upon the starting conditions and upon subtle interactions between the evolving state and the ambient environment. All we can assert with confidence is a negative: if the constants of Nature were not within one percent or so of their observed values, then the basic buildings blocks of life would not exist in sufficient profusion in the Universe. Moreover, changes like this would affect the very stability of the elements and prevent the existence of the required elements rather than merely suppress their abundance. -- John D. Barrow (British physicist), New Theories of Everything, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, 2007, pg. 121.
Somehow the breathless world that we witness seems far removed from the timeless laws of Nature which govern the elementary particles and forces of Nature. The reason is clear. We do not observe the laws of Nature: we observe their outcomes. Since these laws find their most efficient representation as mathematical equations, we might say that we see only the solutions of those equations not the equations themselves. This is the secret which reconciles the complexity observed in Nature with the advertised simplicity of her laws. -- John D. Barrow (British physicist), New Theories of Everything, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, 2007, pg. 138.
The quantitative aspect is obvious: why should we be clever enough to fathom the Theory of Everything? We know of mathematical theorems which are undemonstrable in principle and others that would take our fastest computers the entire age of the Universe to decide. Why should the Theory of Everything be simpler than these? -- John D. Barrow (British physicist), New Theories of Everything, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, 2007, pg. 203.
A more interesting problem is the extent to which the brain is qualitatively adapted to understand the Universe. Why should its categories of thought and understanding be able to cope with the scope and nature of the real world? Why should the Theory of Everything be written in a 'language' that our minds can decode? Why has the process of natural selection so over-endowed us with mental faculties that we can understand the whole fabric of the Universe far beyond anything required for our past and present survival? -- John D. Barrow (British physicist), New Theories of Everything, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, 2007, pg. 203.
Religion and science have sometimes been in apparent conflict. Yet the conflict should only be apparent, not real for science should seek truth, and true religion is truth. There can never be conflict between revealed religion and scientific fact. That they have often occupied different fields of truth is a mere detail. The gospel accepts and embraces all truth; science is slowly expanding her arms and reaching into the invisible domain in search of truth. The two are meeting daily -- science as a child, revealed religion as the mother. Truth is truth, whether labeled science or religion. There can be no conflict. Time is on the side of truth -- for truth is eternal. -- Ezra Taft Benson (former President of LDS Church), LDS Conference Report, Apr. 1966, pg. 129.
In Christian thought, the Genesis stories of creation have been an exceedingly rich mine of mythological and theological meanings. They treat the great themes of God as creator, the God-world relationship, the nature of reality human nature, and the character of human existence. ... The only literal statement in Genesis 1 is 'God created the heavens and the earth.' -- Marcus J. Borg (Episcopal Priest), Reading the Bible Again for the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously but Not Literally, HarperSanFrancisco, 2001, pg. 72.
We should all be interested in academic research. We must go out on the research front and continue to explore the vast unknown. We should be in the forefront of learning in all fields, for revelation does not come only through the prophet of God nor only directly from heaven in visions or dreams. Revelation may come in the laboratory, out of the test tube, out of the thinking mind and the inquiring soul, out of search and research and prayer and inspiration. We must be unafraid to contend for what we are thinking and to combat error with truth in this divided and imperiled world, and we must do it with the unfaltering faith that God is still in his heaven even though all is not well with the world. -- Hugh B. Brown (former counselor in LDS First Presidency), "A Final Testimony," from Edwin B. Firmage, ed., The Memoirs of Hugh B. Brown: An Abundant Life, Signature Books, Salt Lake City, UT, 1988.
The image of God as a cosmic trickster seems to be the ultimate admission of defeat for the Creationist perspective. Would God as the great deceiver be an entity one would want to worship? Is this consistent with everything else we know about God from the Bible, from the Moral Law, and from every other source -- namely, that he is loving, logical and consistent? -- Francis S. Collins (evangelical biologist and Director of National Institutes of Health), The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, Free Press, New York, 2006.
In my view, there is no conflict in being a rigorous scientist and a person who believes in a God who takes a personal interest in each one of us. Science's domain is to explore nature. God's domain is in the spiritual world, a realm not possible to explore with the tools and language of science. It must be examined with the heart, the mind, and the soul -- and the mind must find a way to embrace both realms. -- Francis S. Collins (evangelical biologist and Director of National Institutes of Health), The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, Free Press, New York, 2006, pg. 6.
I would essentially like to share with you two convictions in this presentation: (1) that the Intelligent Design (ID) movement, while evoking a God of power and might, a designer God, actually belittles God, makes her/him too small and paltry; (2) that our scientific understanding of the universe, untainted by religious considerations, provides for those who believe in God a marvelous opportunity to reflect upon their beliefs. Please note carefully that I distinguish, and will continue to do so in this presentation, that science and religion are totally separate human pursuits. Science is completely neutral with respect to theistic or atheistic implications which may be drawn from scientific results. -- George V. Coyne (Catholic biologist), "A Catholic Scientist Looks at Evolution," available at Coyne2006.
Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved. -- Charles Darwin (19thC biologist), On the Origin of Species, John Murray Publishers, London, 1859, final paragraph.
[H]uman minds, at least, are much more than mere observers. We do more than just watch the show that nature stages. Human beings have come to understand the world, at least in part, through the processes of reasoning and science. In particular, we have developed mathematics, and by so doing have unraveled some -- maybe soon, all -- of the hidden cosmic code, the subtle tune to which nature dances. Nothing in the entire multiverse/anthropic argument ... requires that level of involvement, that degree of connection. In order to explain a bio-friendly universe, the selection processes that features in the weak anthropic principle merely requires observers to observe. It is not necessary for observers to understand. Yet humans do. Why? -- Paul Davies (American physicist), Cosmic Jackpot: Why Our Universe Is Just Right for Life, Houghton Mifflin, New York, 2007, pg. 231.
The search for alien beings can thus be seen as part of a long-standing religious quest as well as a scientific project. -- Paul Davies (American physicist), Are We Alone? Philosophical Implications of the Discovery of Extraterrestrial Life, Basic Books, 1995, pg. 138.
My reasons for seeing the universe as meaningful lie in what I perceive as its built-in necessities. Monod stressed the improbability of life and mind and the preponderant role of chance in their emergence, hence the lack of design in the universe, hence its absurdity and pointlessness. My reading of the same facts is different. It gives chance the same role, but acting within such a stringent set of constraints as to produce life and mind obligatorily, not once but many times. To Monod's famous sentence "The universe was not pregnant with life, nor the bisosphere with man," I reply: "You are wrong. They were." -- Christian de Duve (Catholic biologist), Vital Dust: Life As A Cosmic Imperative, Basic Books, New York, 1995, pg. 300.
In the final anthropic principle or if anything like an infinite amount of computation taking place is going to be true, which I think is highly plausible one way or another, then the universe is heading towards something that might be called omniscience. Although there never will be a moment of omniscience, at any one moment we'll have infinitely less knowledge than omniscience. But yes, there's something like that, the concept that we've found that is most like a religious concept is providence. -- David Deutsch (British physicist), "The Anthropic Universe," Australian Broadcasting System, 18 Feb 2006, available at Deutsch2006.
I climb the "Hill of Science," I "view the landscape o'er;" Such transcendental prospect, I ne'er beheld before! -- Emily Dickinson (19thC American poet), "Sic transit gloria mundi" available at Dickinson1886.
As we look out into the universe and identify the many accidents of physics and astronomy that have worked together to our benefit, it almost seems as if the universe must in some sense have known we were coming. -- Freeman Dyson (British-American mathematical physicist), Disturbing the Universe, Harper and Row, New York, 1979, pg. 250.
As human beings, we are groping for knowledge and understanding of the strange universe into which we are born. We have many ways of understanding, of which science is only one. ... Science is a particular bunch of tools that have been conspicuously successful for understanding and manipulating the material universe. Religion is another bunch of tools, giving us hints of a mental or spiritual universe that transcends the material universe. -- Freeman Dyson (British-American mathematical physicist), "Religion from the Outside," The New York Review, 22 Jun 2006, pg. 4-8.
I am convinced that we can discover by means of purely mathematical constructions the concepts and the laws connecting them with each other, which furnish the key to the understanding of natural phenomena. Experience may suggest the appropriate mathematical concepts, but they most certainly cannot be deduced from it. Experience remains, of course, the sole criterion of the physical utility of a mathematical construction. But the creative principle resides in mathematics. In a certain sense, therefore, I hold it true that pure thought can grasp reality, as the ancients dreamed. -- Albert Einstein (German-American mathematical physicist), quoted in John D. Barrow, New Theories of Everything, Oxford University Press, 2007, pg. 211.
On the other hand, I maintain that the cosmic religious feeling is the strongest and noblest motive for scientific research. Only those who realize the immense efforts and, above all, the devotion without which pioneer work in theoretical science cannot be achieved are able to grasp the strength of the emotion out of which alone such work, remote as it is from the immediate realities of life, can issue. What a deep conviction of the rationality of the universe and what a yearning to understand, were it but a feeble reflection of the mind revealed in this world, Kepler and Newton must have had to enable them to spend years of solitary labor in disentangling the principles of celestial mechanics! -- Albert Einstein (German-American mathematical physicist), New York Times Magazine, 9 Nov 1930, pg. 1-4, reprinted in Albert Einstein, Ideas and Opinions, Crown Publishers, Inc. 1954, pg. 36-40.
Those whose acquaintance with scientific research is derived chiefly from its practical results easily develop a completely false notion of the mentality of the men who, surrounded by a skeptical world, have shown the way to kindred spirits scattered wide through the world and through the centuries. Only one who has devoted his life to similar ends can have a vivid realization of what has inspired these men and given them the strength to remain true to their purpose in spite of countless failures. It is cosmic religious feeling that gives a man such strength. A contemporary has said, not unjustly, that in this materialistic age of ours the serious scientific workers are the only profoundly religious people. -- Albert Einstein (German-American mathematical physicist), New York Times Magazine, 9 Nov 1930, pg. 1-4, reprinted in Albert Einstein, Ideas and Opinions, Crown Publishers, Inc. 1954, pg. 36-40.
Episcopalians believe that the Bible "contains all things necessary to salvation" (Book of Common Prayer, p. 868): it is the inspired and authoritative source of truth about God, Christ, and the Christian life. But physicist and priest John Polkinghorne, following sixteenth-century Anglican theologian Richard Hooker, reminds us Anglicans and Episcopalians that the Bible does not contain all necessary truths about everything else. The Bible, including Genesis, is not a divinely dictated scientific textbook. We discover scientific knowledge about God's universe in nature not Scripture. -- Episcopal Church, "Catechism of Creation," 2009, available at Episcopal2009.
The scriptures tell why man was created, but they do not tell how, though the Lord has promised that he will tell that when he comes again (D&C 101:32-33). In 1931, when there was intense discussion on the issue of organic evolution, the First Presidency of the Church, then consisting of Presidents Heber J. Grant, Anthony W. Ivins, and Charles W. Nibley, addressed all of the General Authorities of the Church on the matter, and concluded, 'Upon the fundamental doctrines of the Church we are all agreed. Our mission is to bear the message of the restored gospel to the world. Leave geology, biology, archaeology, and anthropology, no one of which has to do with the salvation of the souls of mankind, to scientific research, while we magnify our calling in the realm of the Church.' -- William Evenson (writing under direction of Gordon B. Hinckley of the LDS First Presidency), "Evolution," in Daniel H. Ludlow, ed., The Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Macmillan, New York, 1992, vol. 2, pg. 478, available at Evenson1992.
Those who sincerely seek both scientific and spiritual understanding would do well to abandon the dichotomy [that one must choose between science and religion]. Denying the evidence of evolution, including human evolution, is honest only in ignorance. The incredible diversity on life on Earth, the many fossils unearthed, the varied yet similar anatomical features among species, the obvious hierarchical arrangement of life, and the literally millions of ancestral relics in our DNA -- all undeniably attest to our common evolutionary origin with the rest of life. If someone can believe that all living organisms share the same creator, why not consider that all living organisms share a common genetic heritage? Indeed, we can find wonder, even comfort, in embracing our biological relationship with all living things. As Darwin understood, "there is grandeur in this view of life." -- Daniel J. Fairbanks (LDS biologist), Relics of Eden: The Powerful Evidence of Evolution in Human DNA, Prometheus Books, New York, 2007, pg. 170.
The empirical spirit on which the Western democratic societies were founded is currently under attack, and not just by such traditional adversaries as religious fundamentalists and devotees of the occult. Serious scholars claim that there is no such thing as progress and assert that science is but a collection of opinions, as socially conditioned as the weathervane world of Paris couture. -- Timothy Ferris (American physicist), The Whole Shebang: A State of the Universe(s) Report, Simon and Shuster, 1998, pg. 1.
Science tries to document the factual character of the natural world, and to develop theories that coordinate and explain these facts. Religion, on the other hand, operates in the equally important, but utterly different, realm of human purposes, meanings, and values -- subjects that the factual domain of science might illuminate, but can never resolve. Similarly, while scientists must operate with ethical principles, some specific to their practice, the validity of these principles can never be inferred from the factual discoveries of science. -- Stephen Jay Gould (American biologist), Rocks of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life, Library of Contemporary Thought, New York, 1999, pg. 4-5.
As we survey all the evidence, the thought insistently arises that some supernatural agency, or rather Agency, must be involved. Is it possible that suddenly, without intending to, we have stumbled upon scientific proof of the existence of a supreme being? Was it God who stepped in and so providentially created the cosmos for our benefit? -- George Greenstein (American astronomer), quoted in Leonard Susskind, The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design, Little, Brown and Company, New York, 2005, pg. 8.
We can clearly see that there is no bi-univocal correspondence between linear signifying links archi-writing, depending on the author, and this multireferential, multidimensional machinic catalysis. The symmetry of scale, the transversality, the pathic non-discursive character of their expansion: all these dimensions re-move us from the logic of the excluded middle and reinforce us in our dismissal of the ontological binarism we criticised previously. A machinic assemblage, through its diverse components, extracts its consistency by crossing ontological thresholds, non-linear thresholds of irreversibility, ontological and phylogenetic thresholds, creative thresholds of heterogenesis and autopoiesis. The notion of scale needs to be expanded to consider fractal symmetries in ontological terms. -- This hopelessly confused but serious piece of postmodern science scholarship is from Felix Guattari (French postmodernist), "Chaosmosis: An Ethico-Aesthetic Paradigm," quoted in Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont, Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science, Picador, New York, 1998, pg. 166.
[We should] avoid making room for any insertion of a god-of-the-gaps into the dark regions of human ignorance that naturalistic explanation may eventually illuminate. -- John F. Haught (Catholic philosopher), Science and Religion: From Conflict to Conversation, Paulist Press, Mahwah, NJ, 1995.
If God were a magician or a dictator, then we might expect the universe to be finished all at once and remain eternally unchanged. If God insisted on being in total control of things, we might not expect the weird organisms of the Cambrian explosion, the later dinosaurs and reptiles, or the many other wild creatures that seem so exotic to us. We would want our divine magician to build the world along the lines of a narrowly human sense of clean perfection. ... But what a pallid and impoverished world that would be. It would lack all the drama, diversity, adventure, and intense beauty that evolution has in fact produced. A world of human design might have a listless harmony to it, and it might be a world devoid of pain and struggle, but it would have none of the novelty, contrast, danger, upheaval and grandeur that evolution has brought about over billions of years. ... Fortunately, the God of our religion is not a magician but a creator. And we think this God is much more interested in promoting freedom and the adventure of evolution than in preserving the status quo. -- John F. Haught (Catholic philosopher), Science and Religion: From Conflict to Conversation, Paulist Press, Mahwah, NJ, 1995.
By grounding the natural order in the rationality of a personal God, theism conditioned the Western mind over the course of centuries for the kind of faith in natural order and cosmic coherence that scientists have to take with them into their work. -- John F. Haught (Catholic philosopher), Science and Religion: From Conflict to Conversation, Paulist Press, Mahwah, NJ, 1995, pg. 46.
However, even though the new atheists reject the God of creationists, fundamentalists, terrorists, and intelligent design (ID) advocates, it is not without interest that they have decided to debate with these extremists rather than with any major theologians. This choice of antagonists betrays their unconscious privileging of literalist and conservative versions of religious thought over the more traditionally mainstream types -- which they completely ignore and implicitly reject for their unorthodoxy. The new atheists are saying in effect that if God exists at all, we should allow this God's identity to be determined once and for all by the fundamentalists of the Abrahamic religious traditions. I believe they have chosen this strategy not only to make their job of demolition easier, but also because they have a barely disguised admiration for the simplicity of their opponents' view of reality. -- John F. Haught (Catholic philosopher), God and the New Atheism: A Critical Response to Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens, Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, KY, 2008, pg. xv-xvi.
[Scientism] is a belief for which there can be no "sufficient" scientific or empirical "evidence" either. There is no way, without circular thinking, to set up a scientific experiment to demonstrate that every true proposition must be based in empirical evidence rather than faith. The censuring of every instance of faith, in the narrow new atheist sense of the term, would have to include the suppression of scientism also. ... Moreover, the claim that truth can be attained only by reason and science functioning independently of any faith is itself a faith claim. Complete consistency would require that the new atheists' world of thought be cleansed of scientism and scientific naturalism as well. -- John F. Haught (Catholic philosopher), God and the New Atheism, Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, KY, 2008, pg. 11.
For even if scientists concluded that some intelligent being had tinkered with the initial conditions and cosmological constants, pointing them in the direction of life and mind, this "being" would still be an abstraction, and not the living God of religion. It would be a great empty plugger of gaps, and not the personal God of Abraham, Jesus and Muhammad. The [strong anthropic principle] is no more capable of confirming or deepening our religious life than are the old arguments of God's existence. The realms of science and religion are radically distinct. Once again, then, in the interest of maintaining the integrity of both religion and science, we refuse to derive any theological consequences or religious comfort from this spuriously popular "scientific" theory. -- John F. Haught (Catholic philosopher), Science and Religion: From Conflict to Conversation, Paulist Press, Mahwah, NJ, 1995, pg. 131.
And although it may seem for the moment that big bang physics is smoothing over some of the friction between science and religion, we know that science will continue to change. And if the big bang theory is eventually discarded as premature or inaccurate, then on what ground will those theologians stand who now see it as a vindication of theism? -- John F. Haught (Catholic philosopher), Science and Religion: From Conflict to Conversation, Paulist Press, Mahway, NJ, 1995, pg. 109.
But in a larger sense [the 20th century] has been the best of all centuries. In the long history of the earth there has been nothing like it. The life expectancy of man has been extended by more than 25 years. Think of it. It is a miracle. The fruits of science have been manifest everywhere. By and large, we live longer, we live better. This is an age of greater understanding and knowledge. We live in a world of great diversity. As we learn more of one another, our appreciation grows. This has been an age of enlightenment. The miracles of modern medicine, of travel, of communication are almost beyond belief. -- Gordon B. Hinckley (recent LDS President), "Thanks to the Lord for His Blessings," LDS Conference Reports, April 1999, available at Hinckley1999.
We therefore find that Professor Behe's claim for irreducible complexity has been refuted in peer-reviewed research papers and has been rejected by the scientific community at large. -- John E. Jones (U.S. District Judge), Kitzmiller vs Dover Area School District, Memorandum Opinion, 20 Dec 2005, pg. 78-79, available at Jones2005.
We have concluded that [intelligent design] is not [science], and moreover that [intelligent design] cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents. -- John E. Jones (U.S. District Judge), Kitzmiller vs Dover Area School District, Memorandum Opinion, 20 Dec 2005, pg. 136, available at Jones2005.
Both Defendants and many of the leading proponents of [intelligent design] make a bedrock assumption which is utterly false. Their presupposition is that evolutionary theory is antithetical to a belief in the existence of a supreme being and to religion in general. Repeatedly in this trial, Plaintiffs' scientific experts testified that the theory of evolution represents good science, is overwhelmingly accepted by the scientific community, and that it in no way conflicts with, nor does it deny, the existence of a divine creator. -- John E. Jones (U.S. District Judge), Kitzmiller vs Dover Area School District, Memorandum Opinion, 20 Dec 2005, pg. 136, available at Jones2005.
To be sure, Darwin's theory of evolution is imperfect. However, the fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis [intelligent design] grounded in religion into the science classroom or to misrepresent well-established scientific propositions. -- John E. Jones (U.S. District Judge), Kitzmiller vs Dover Area School District, Memorandum Opinion, 20 Dec 2005, pg. 136-137, available at Jones2005.
Those who disagree with our holding [against the Dover, Pennsylvania School Board and their policy promoting intelligent design] will likely mark it as the product of an activist judge. If so, they will have erred as this is manifestly not an activist Court. Rather, this case came to us as the result of the activism of an ill-informed faction on a school board, aided by a national public interest law firm eager to find a constitutional test case on [intelligent design], who in combination drove the Board to adopt an imprudent and ultimately unconstitutional policy. The breathtaking inanity of the Board's decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial. The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources. -- John E. Jones (U.S. District Judge), Kitzmiller vs Dover Area School District, Memorandum Opinion, 20 Dec 2005, pg. 138, available at Jones2005.
The Bible itself speaks to us of the origin of the universe and its make-up, not in order to provide us with a scientific treatise, but in order to state the correct relationships of man with God and with the universe. Sacred Scripture wishes simply to declare that the world was created by God, and in order to teach this truth it expresses itself in the terms of the cosmology in use at the time of the writer. The Sacred Book likewise wishes to tell men that the world was not created as the seta of the gods, as was taught by other cosmogonies and cosmologies, but was rather created for the service of man and the glory of God. Any other teaching about the origin and makeup of the universe is alien to the intentions of the Bible, which does not wish to teach how heaven was made but how one goes to heaven. -- Pope John Paul II, Discourses of the Popes from Pius XI to John Paul II to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, 1936-1986, Pontificia Academia Scientiarum, Vatican City, 1986, pg. 161-164, available at Pope1986.
In his encyclical Humani Generis (1950), my predecessor Pius XII has already affirmed that there is no conflict between evolution and the doctrine of the faith regarding man and his vocation, provided that we do not lose sight of certain fixed points. ... Today, more than a half-century after the appearance of that encyclical, some new findings lead us toward the recognition of evolution as more than an hypothesis. In fact, it is remarkable that this theory has had progressively greater influence on the spirit of researchers, following a series of discoveries in different scholarly disciplines. The convergence in the results of these independent studies -- which was neither planned nor sought -- constitutes in itself a significant argument in favor of the theory. -- Pope John Paul II, "Message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences," 22 Oct 1996, available at Pope1996.
[W]e will all be able to profit from the fruitfulness of a trustful dialogue between the Church and science. -- Pope John Paul II, "Message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences," 22 Oct 1996, available at Pope1996
The chief aim of all investigations of the external world should be to discover the rational order and harmony which has been imposed on it by God and which He revealed to us in the language of mathematics. -- Johannes Kepler (17thC German mathematician-astronomer), from Morris Kline, Mathematics: The Loss of Certainty, Oxford University Press, 1982, pg. 31.
How ridiculous to make evolution the enemy of God. What could be more elegant, more simple, more brilliant, more economical, more creative, indeed more divine than a planet with millions of life forms, distinct and yet interactive, all ultimately derived from accumulated variations in a single double-stranded molecule, pliable and fecund enough to give us mollusks and mice, Newton and Einstein? Even if it did give us the Kansas State Board of Education, too. -- Charles Krauthammer (conservative American columnist), "Phony Theory, False Conflict: 'Intelligent Design' Foolishly Pits Evolution Against Faith," Washington Post, 18 Nov 2005, available at Krauthammer2005.
This diagram [the Mobius strip] can be considered the basis of a sort of essential inscription at the origin, in the knot which constitutes the [human] subject. ... You can perhaps see that the sphere, that old symbol for totality, is unsuitable. A torus, a Klein bottle, a cross-cut surface, are able to receive such a cut. And this diversity is very important as it explains many things about the structure of mental disease. If one can symbolize the subject by this fundamental cut, in the same way one can show that a cut on a torus corresponds to the neurotic subject, and on a cross-cut surface to another sort of mental disease. -- This hopelessly confused but serious piece of postmodern science scholarship is from Jacques Lacan (French postmodernist), "Of Structure As an Inmixing of an Otherness Prerequisite to Any Subject Whatever," quoted in Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont, Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science, Picador, New York, 1998, pg. 19-20.
An intelligence knowing all the forces acting in nature at a given instant, as well as the momentary positions of all things in the universe, would be able to comprehend in one single formula the motions of the largest bodies as well as of the lightest atoms in the world, provided that its intellect were sufficiently powerful to subject all data to analysis; to it nothing would be uncertain, the future as well as the past would be present to its eyes. -- Pierre-Simon Laplace (18-19thC French mathematician), from Will and Ariel Durant, The Story of Civilization, Simon and Schuster, New York, 11 volumes, 1975 (date of last volume), vol. 9, pg. 548.
The universe and the observer exist as a pair. ... The moment you say that the universe exists without any observers, I cannot make any sense out of that. I cannot imagine a consistent theory of everything that ignores consciousness. A recording device cannot play the role of an observer, because who will read what is written on this recording device? In order for us to see that something happens, and say to one another that something happens, you need to have a universe, you need to have a recording device, and you need to have us. It's not enough for the information to be stored somewhere, completely inaccessible to anybody. It's necessary for somebody to look at it. You need an observer who looks at the universe. In the absence of observers, our universe is dead. -- Andre Linde (Russian-American cosmologist), interviewed by Tim Folger, "Does the Universe Exist if We're Not Looking?", Discover, 1 Jun 2002, available at Folger2002.
Mathematics requires both intuitive work (e.g., Gromov, Thurston) and precision (J. Frank Adams, J.-P Serre). In theological terms, we are not saved by faith alone, but by faith and works. -- Saunders Mac Lane, from Michael Atiyah et al., "Responses to 'Theoretical Mathematics: Toward a Cultural Synthesis of Mathematics and Theoretical Physics," by A. Jaffe and F. Quinn," Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society, vol. 30, no. 2 (Apr 1994), pg. 178-207.
You ought to know that the ratio of the diameter of the circle to its circumference is unknown, nor will it ever be possible to express it precisely. This is not due to any shortcoming of knowledge on our part, as the ignorant think. Rather, this matter is unknown due to its nature, and its discovery will never be attained. -- Moses Maimonides (Jewish theologian, 1135-1204), anticipating the fact that pi cannot be expressed as the ratio of two integers (a fact later proved in 1768), from his Commentary to the Mishnah, 1168, quoted by George Anastaplo, "A Timely Recapitulation, With Some Help From Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle," 13 Aug 2007, available at Maimonides1168.
For example, evolution's beautiful theory of the creation of the world offers many perplexing problems to the inquiring mind. Inevitably, a teacher who denies divine agency in creation, who insists there is no intelligent purpose in it, will infest the student with the thought that all may be chance. I say, that no youth should be so led without a counter-balancing thought. Even the skeptic teacher should be fair enough to see that even Charles Darwin, when he faced this great question of annihilation, that the creation is dominated only by chance wrote: "It is an intolerable thought that man and all other sentient beings are doomed to complete annihilation after such long, continued slow progress." And another good authority, Raymond West, said, "Why this vast [expenditure] of time and pain and blood?" Why should man come so far if he's destined to go no farther? A creature that travels such distances and fought such battles and won such victories deserves what we are compelled to say, "To conquer death and rob the grave of its victory." -- David O. McKay (former LDS President), "A Message for LDS College Youth," BYU Extension Publications, Oct. 10, 1952, pg. 6-7; also published, nearly verbatim, in LDS Conference Report, Apr. 1968, pg. 92.
The consistency of the [radiometric] data [on the ages of geologic periods] ... is nothing short of stunning. -- Kenneth R. Miller (Catholic biologist), Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution, Cliff Street Books, New York, 1999, pg. 76.
Ironically, validation of our common ancestry with other primates comes directly from those [creationists] who are most critical of the idea. -- Kenneth R. Miller (Catholic biologist and prominent author), reviewing the disagreement among various creationists' classifications of prehuman fossils, in Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul, Viking, New York, 2008, pg. 95.
In order to defend God against the challenge [creationists] see from evolution, they have to make him into a schemer, a trickster, even a charlatan. Their version of God is one who intentionally plants misleading clues beneath our feet and in the heavens themselves. ... To embrace that God, we must reject science and worship deception itself. -- Kenneth R. Miller (Catholic biologist and prominent author), Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution, Cliff Street Books, New York, 1999, pg. 80.
I think that faith and reason are both gifts from God. And if God is real, then faith and reason should complement each other rather than be in conflict. Science is the child of reason. Reason has given us the ability to establish the scientific method to investigate the world around us, and to show that the world and the universe in which we live are far vaster and far more complex, and I think far more wonderful, than anyone could have imagined 1,000 or 2,000 years ago. ... Does that mean that scientific reason, by taking some of the mystery out of nature, has taken away faith? I don't think so. I think by revealing a world that is infinitely more complex and infinitely more varied and creative than we had ever believed before, in a way it deepens our faith and our appreciation for the author of that nature, the author of that physical universe. And to people of faith, that author is God. -- Kenneth R. Miller (Catholic biologist and prominent author), "In Defense of Evolution," available at Miller2007.
Darwinism appeared, and, under the guise of a foe, did the work of a friend. -- Aubrey Moore (19thC Anglican theologian), "The Christian Doctrine of God," in Charles Gore, ed., Lux Mundi, John Murray, London, 1891, pg. 99, available at: Moore1891.
One always worries in science that one's being too narrow, one always worries that one's not been imaginative enough even in the case of evolutionary convergence say look N equals 1, we only have one earth and maybe there are initial conditions which in a sense predispose everything in one set of inevitable directions. I don't actually think that is the case because really the building blocks of the universe are things like carbon and various other elements and in point of fact it maybe even from that stage, which of course then leads us to the Big Bang itself, there is, if you like, seeded into the initiation of the universe itself the inevitability of intelligence. -- Simon Conway Morris (British paleontologist), "Evolution's Driving Force," Australian Broadcasting System, 3 Dec 2005, available at Morris2005.
Science and religion are based on different aspects of human experience. In science, explanations must be based on evidence drawn from examining the natural world. ... Religious faith, in contrast, ... typically involves supernatural forces or entities. Because they are not a part of nature, supernatural entities cannot be investigated by science. In this sense, science and religion are separate and address aspects of human understanding in different ways. Attempts to pit science and religion against each other create controversy where none needs to exist. -- National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, Science, Evolution, and Creationism, National Academy of Sciences Press, Washington, 2008, pg. 12.
Both science and religion are weakened by claims that something not yet explained scientifically must be attributed to a supernatural deity. Theologians have pointed out that as scientific knowledge about phenomena that had been previously attributed to to supernatural causes increases, a "god of the gaps" approach can undermine faith. Furthermore, it confuses the roles of science and religion by attributing explanations to one that belong in the domain of another. -- National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, Science, Evolution, and Creationism, National Academy of Sciences Press, Washington, 2008, pg. 54.
Despite my admiration for much of Dawkins's work, I'm afraid that I'm among those scientists who must part company with him here. Indeed, The God Delusion seems to me badly flawed. Though I once labeled Dawkins a professional atheist, I'm forced, after reading his new book, to conclude he's actually more an amateur. I don't pretend to know whether there's more to the world than meets the eye and, for all I know, Dawkins's general conclusion is right. But his book makes a far from convincing case. -- H. Allen Orr (American biologist), "Mission to Convert," New York Review of Books, vol. 54, no. 11 (11 Jan 2007), available at Orr2007.
It is a sad testimonial to the community of professors, engineers, and scientists that so many have ignored their professional responsibilities in failing to expose the creationist thermodynamics apologetic [that the second law of thermodynamics invalidates evolution]. -- John W. Patterson (American physicist), "Thermodynamics and Evolution," in Laurie R. Godfrey, ed., Scientists Confront Creationism, W. W. Norton, New York, 1983, pg. 99-116.
The world can now, with the aid of the sciences, be seen more convincingly than ever before as the creation of an ever-working ever-present Ultimate Reality, who transcends and yet is immanent in it -- and can also be present in and to us humans. That is our hope, reinforced by our new perspectives on the cosmic process. -- Arthur Peacocke (British biochemist-theologian), "The Challenges and Possibilities of Western Monotheism," in W. Mark Richardson, Robert John Russell, Philip Clayton and Kirk Wegter- McNelly, editors, Science and the Spiritual Quest: New Essays by Leading Scientist, Routledge, New York, 2002, pg. 233-242.
Once such supernatural explanations are permitted they could be used in chemistry and physics as easily as Creationists have used them in biology and geology. Indeed, all empirical investigation beyond the purely descriptive could cease. ... Methodological Naturalism is not a dogmatic ideology that simply is tacked on to the principles of the scientific method; it is essential for the basic standards of empirical evidence. -- Robert T. Pennock (American scientific philosopher), ed., Intelligent Design Creationism and Its Critics, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2001, pg. 89-90.
The decline of violence is ... visible at the scale of millennia, centuries, decades and years. It applies over several orders of magnitude of violence, from genocide to war to rioting to homicide to the treatment of children and animals. And it appears to be a worldwide trend, though not a homogenous one. -- Steven Pinker (American evolutionary biologist), "A History of Violence," 2011, available at Pinker2011a.
Fundamentalism is not just a theological position; it is primarily a spirit, an attitude, a disposition. It is characterized by narrow, rigid, inflexible beliefs. Its adherents are intolerant of views different from their own. Their arrogance leads them to exclude those who do not hold their beliefs, as though they alone know and hold the truth. -- Paul W. Powell (Baptist theologian), "This We Believe," May 2005, available at Powell2005.
The whole range of subjective experience, from perceiving a patch of pink, to being enthralled by a performance of the Mass in B Minor, and on to the mystic's encounter with the ineffable reality of the One, all these truly human experiences are at the centre of our encounter with reality and they are not to be dismissed as epiphenomenal froth on the surface whose true nature is impersonal and lifeless. -- John Polkinghorne (British physicist, theologian and Anglican Priest), Belief in God in an Age of Science, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1998, pg. 19.
The dead hand of the Laplacean calculator, totally in control of the sterile history of his mechanical universe, has been relaxed. In its place is a more open picture, capable of sustaining motivated conjectures that can accommodate human agency and divine action within the same overall account. Modern science, properly understood, in no way condemns God, at best, to the role of a Deistic Absentee Landlord, but it allows us to conceive of the Creator's continuing providential activity and costly loving care for creation. -- John Polkinghorne (British physicist, theologian and Anglican Priest), Belief in God in an Age of Science, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1998, pg. 75.
The moral is certainly not that we should all return to the comfort and safety of our professional home grounds. Interdisciplinary work is both essential (for, in the end, knowledge is one) and risky (for we must all venture to speak on topics of which we are not wholly the master). We must attempt a bit of intellectual daring and, above all, we have to be prepared to listen and learn from each other, showing mutual tolerance and acceptance in doing so. I do not yet see a dialogue of this kind taking place between mainstream theologians and mainstream scientists, but I fervently hope it will be one of the leading developments of the next few years. -- John Polkinghorne (British physicist, theologian and Anglican Priest), Belief in God in an Age of Science, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1998, pg. 83.
Science and theology ... share one fundamental aim which will always make them worthy of the attention of those imbued with intellectual integrity and the desire to understand: in their different ways and in their different domains, each is concerned with the search for truth. In itself, that is sufficient to guarantee that there will continue to be a fruitful developing dialogue between them. -- John Polkinghorne (British physicist, theologian and Anglican Priest), Belief in God in an Age of Science, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1998, pg. 99-100.
The first order experience of the scientific community strongly encourages the sense of discovery, the belief that we are given to know more about the universe than was the privilege of our predecessors. In fact, without that belief, a great many of us would not have undertaken the long apprenticeship and weary labour which are an indispensable part of scientific research. -- John Polkinghorne (British physicist, theologian and Anglican Priest), Belief in God in an Age of Science, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1998, pg. 104.
The scientist and the theologian both work by faith, a realist trust in the rational reliability of our understanding of experience. -- John Polkinghorne (British physicist, theologian and Anglican Priest), Belief in God in an Age of Science, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1998, pg. 124.
Among the popular errors of modern times, an opinion prevails that miracles are events which transpire contrary to the laws of nature, that they are effects without a cause. If such is the fact, then, there never has been a miracle, and there never will be one. The laws of nature are the laws of truth. Truth is unchangeable, and independent in its own sphere. A law of nature never has been broken. And it is an absolute impossibility that such law ever should be broken. -- Parley P. Pratt (19thC LDS Apostle), Key to the Science of Theology, 1891, reprinted by Deseret Book Co., 1965, pg. 102.
We conclude that the true relation between the evolutionary theory and the Bible is that of non- contradiction. ... We re-affirm our belief in the uniqueness of man as a creature whom God has made in His own image. -- Presbyterian Church in the USA, "Evolution Statement," 1969, available at Presbyterian1969.
[The Rabbinical Council of America] notes that significant Jewish authorities have maintained that evolutionary theory, properly understood, is not incompatible with belief in a Divine Creator, nor with the first 2 chapters of Genesis. -- Rabbinical Council of America, "Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design," 27 Dec 2005, available at Rabbinical2004.
On the other hand, to limit and insist upon the whole of life and death to this side of Adam's advent to the earth, some six or eight thousand years ago, as proposed by some, is to fly in the face of the facts so indisputably brought to light by the researcher of science in modern times ... To pay attention to and give reasonable credence to their research and findings is to link the church of God with the highest increase of human thought and effort. On that side lies development, on the other lies contraction. It is on the former side that research work is going on and will continue to go on, future investigation and discoveries will continue on that side, nothing will retard them, and nothing will develop on the other side. One leads to narrow sectarianism, the other keeps the open spirit of a world movement with which our New Dispensation began. As between them which is to be our choice? -- B. H. Roberts (early 20thC LDS theologian), The Truth, the Way, the Life, originally written 1931, published by Smith Research Associates, Salt Lake City, UT, 1994, pg. 364.
[E]xtraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. -- Carl Sagan (American astronomer), Billions and Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium, Ballantine Books, 1998, pg. 60.
How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, "This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant?" Instead they say, "No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way." A religion old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science, might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths. Sooner or later, such a religion will emerge. -- Carl Sagan (American astronomer), Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, Random House, New York, 1994.
My view is somewhat different. I believe that the realms of science and religion are nearly orthogonal. It seems to me that scientists and theologians have climbed closely adjacent but different peaks. When each has reach their separate summits they can view one another, even exchange arguments and claims of hegemony over one another, but they are not close enough to one another for either to play king of the other's mountain. -- Allan Sandage (American astronomer), "Science and Religion: Separate Closets in the Same House," in W. Mark Richardson, Robert John Russell, Philip Clayton and Kirk Wegter-McNelly, editors, Science and the Spiritual Quest: New Essays by Leading Scientist, Routledge, New York, 2002, pg. 56-63.
And yet I remain optimistic. One belief from my childhood I have preserved with a certainty I can never lose: belief in truth. I am confident that the spirit generated by truth is stronger than the force of circumstances. In my view no other destiny awaits mankind than that which, through its mental and spiritual disposition, it prepares for itself. Therefore I do not believe that it will have to tread the road to ruin right to the end. -- Albert Schweitzer (American humanitarian), Out of My Life and Thought: An Autobiography, Felix Meiner Verlag, Leipzig, 1931, English Translation 1933, reprinted by Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998, pg. 243.
Even the most devout and sincere believers in the Bible realize that it is, like most any other book, filled with metaphor, simile, allegory, and parable, which no intelligent person could be compelled to accept in a literal sense. ... The Lord has not taken from those who believe in his word the power of reason. He expects every man who takes his 'yoke' upon him to have common sense enough to accept a figure of speech in its proper setting, and to understand that the holy scriptures are replete with allegorical stories, faith-building parables, and artistic speech. ... Where is there a writing intended to be taken in all its parts literally? Such a writing would be insipid and hence lack natural appeal. To expect a believer in the Bible to strike an attitude of this kind and believe all that is written to be a literal rendition is a stupid thought. No person with the natural use of his faculties looks upon the Bible in such a light. -- Joseph Fielding Smith, Jr. (mid-20thC LDS President), Doctrines of Salvation, Bookcraft, Salt Lake City, UT, vol. 3, 1956, pg. 188.
We physicists need to confront the crisis facing us. A scientific theory that makes no predictions and therefore is not subject to experiment can never fail, but such a theory can never succeed either, as long as science stands for knowledge gained from rational argument borne out by evidence. There needs to be an honest evaluation of the wisdom of sticking to a research program that has failed after decades to find grounding in either experimental results or precise mathematical formulation. String theorists need to face the possibility that they will turn out to have been wrong and others right. -- Lee Smolin (American physicist), The Trouble with Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, 2006, pg. 352.
Theorizing about 'the social construction of reality' won't help us find an effective treatment for AIDS or devise strategies for preventing global warming. Nor can we combat false ideas in history, sociology, economics, and politics if we reject the notions of truth and falsity. -- Alan Sokal (American physicist), from Editors of Lingua Franca, ed., The Sokal Hoax: The Sham That Shook the Academy, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, 2000, pg. 52.
Rather, [scientists] cling to the dogma imposed by the long post-Enlightenment hegemony over the Western intellectual outlook, which can be summarized briefly as follows: that there exists an external world, whose properties are independent of any individual human being and indeed of humanity as a whole; that these properties are encoded in "eternal" physical laws; and that human beings can obtain reliable, albeit imperfect and tentative, knowledge of these laws by hewing to the "objective" procedures and epistemological strictures prescribed by the (so-called) scientific method. -- Alan Sokal (American physicist), tongue-in-cheek "critique" of science, taken from his famous parody-hoax of postmodern literature, "Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity," Social Text, Spring-Summer 1996, pg. 217-252, also available at Sokal1996a.
Nothing has afforded me so convincing a proof of the unity of the Deity as these purely mental conceptions of numerical and mathematical science which have been by slow degrees vouchsafed to man, and are still granted in these latter times by the Differential Calculus, now superseded by the Higher Algebra, all of which must have existed in that sublimely omniscient Mind from eternity. -- Mary Somerville (19thC Scottish mathematician), in James Roy Newman, The World of Mathematics, vol. 4, Dover, 2000.
I consider [the multiverse-anthropic principle] approach to be extremely dangerous for two reasons. First, it relies on complex assumptions about physical conditions far beyond the range of conceivable observation so it is not scientifically verifiable. Secondly, I think it leads inevitably to a depressing end to science. What is the point of exploring further the randomly chosen physical properties in our tiny corner of the multiverse if most of the multiverse is so different. I think it is far too early to be so desperate. This is a dangerous idea that I am simply unwilling to contemplate. -- Paul Steinhardt (American physicist), "It's a Matter of Time," Edge 2006 annual question, available at Steinhardt2006.
Those who dislike anthropic principles are simply in denial. This principle is not a universal weapon, but a useful tool, which allows us to concentrate on the fundamental problems of physics by separating them from the purely environmental problems, which may have an anthropic solution. One may hate the Anthropic Principle or love it, but I bet that eventually everyone is going to use it. -- Leonard Susskind (American physicist), The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design, Little, Brown and Company, New York, 2005, pg. 353.
The fact that [the cosmological constant] is not absent is a cataclysm for physicists, and the only way that we know how to make any sense of it is through the reviled and despised Anthropic Principle. -- Leonard Susskind (American physicist), The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design, Little, Brown and Company, New York, 2005, pg. 322.
It is as though Einstein's God had made sure that no one could ever know enough to predict the future. -- Leonard Susskind (American physicist), The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics, Little, Brown and Co., New York, 2008, pg. 93.
Miracles are commonly regarded as occurrences in opposition to the laws of nature. Such a conception is plainly erroneous, for the laws of nature are inviolable. However, as human understanding of these laws is at best but imperfect, events strictly in accordance with natural law may appear contrary thereto. The entire constitution of nature is founded on system and order. -- James E. Talmage (early 20thC LDS Apostle), The Articles of Faith, 1899, reprinted by Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, UT, 1966, pg. 220.
The opening chapters of Genesis, and scriptures related thereto, were never intended as a textbook of geology, archaeology, earth-science, or man-science. Holy Scripture will endure, while the conceptions of men change with new discoveries. We do not show reverence for the scriptures when we misapply them through faulty interpretation. -- James E. Talmage (early 20thC LDS Apostle), "The Earth and Man," LDS Church, Salt Lake City, UT, 1931; reprinted in The Juvenile Instructor, vol. 100, no. 12 (Dec 1965), pg. 474-477 and vol. 101, no. 1 (Jan 1966), pg. 9-15.
To incorporate the progress of the world in our picture of the kingdom of God ... would immediately and radically put an end to the internal conflict from which we are suffering. -- Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (20thC Catholic theologian-philosopher), Rene Hague (trans.), Toward the Future, Collins, London, 1975, pg. 96.
Science is a differential equation. Religion is a boundary condition. -- Alan Turing (American mathematician-computer scientist), letter to Robin Gandy, 1954; reprinted in Andrew Hodges, Alan Turing: the Enigma, Vintage edition, 1992, pg. 513.
Science and theology are complementary rather than mutually incompatible. We therefore encourage dialogue between the scientific and theological communities and seek the kind of participation that will enable humanity to sustain life on earth and, by God's grace, increase the quality of our common lives together. -- United Methodist Church, "Science and Technology," 2004, available at Methodist2004.
The [Louisiana Creationism Act] is facially invalid as violative of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, because it lacks a clear secular purpose. ... The Act does not further its stated secular purpose of "protecting academic freedom." It does not enhance the freedom of teachers to teach what they choose and fails to further the goal of "teaching all of the evidence." ... The Act impermissibly endorses religion by advancing the religious belief that a supernatural being created humankind. -- U.S. Supreme Court, Edwards v. Aguillard, 19 Jun 1987, available at Supreme1987.
For what it is worth, I hope that [the multiverse-anthropic view] is not the case. As a theoretical physicist, I would like to see us able to make precise predictions, not vague statements that certain constants have to be in a range that is more or less favorable to life. I hope that string theory really will provide a basis for a final theory and that this theory will turn out to have enough predictive power to be able to prescribe values for all the constants of nature including the cosmological constant. We shall see. -- Steven Weinberg (American physicist), Dreams of a Final Theory: The Scientist's Search for the Ultimate Laws of Nature, Pantheon, New York, 1993, pg. 229.
The war became more and more bitter. The Dominican Father Caccini preached a sermon from the text, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?" and this wretched pun upon the great astronomer [Galileo]'s name ushered in sharper weapons; for, before Caccini ended, he insisted that "geometry is of the devil," and that "mathematicians should be banished as the authors of all heresies." The Church authorities gave Caccini a promotion. -- Andrew Dickson White (American historian), A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, chap. 3, sec. 3.
Faith in reason is the trust that the ultimate natures of things lie together in a harmony which excludes mere arbitrariness. It is the faith that at the base of things we shall not find mere arbitrary mystery. The faith in the order of nature which made possible the growth of science is a particular example of a deeper faith. -- Alfred North Whitehead (British mathematician-philosopher), Science and the Modern World, Free Press, NewYork, 1967 (originally published 1925).
[I]f ... we talk about the objectively observable features of social reality, the direction of history is unmistakable. When you look beneath the roiled surface of human events, beyond the comings and goings of particular regimes, beyond the lives and deaths of the "great men" who have strutted on the stage of history, you see an arrow beginning tens of thousands of years ago and continuing to the present. And, looking ahead, you see where it is pointing. ... Maybe history is ... not so much the product of divinity as the realization of divinity. -- Robert Wright (American scientific philosopher), Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny, Vintage Press, New York, 2001, pg. 17, 332.
As for the Bible account of the creation we may say that the Lord gave it to Moses, or rather Moses obtained the history and traditions of the fathers, and from these picked out what he considered necessary, and that account has been handed down from age to age, and we have got it, no matter whether it is correct or not, and whether the Lord found the earth empty and void, whether he made it out of nothing or out of the rude elements; or whether he made it in six days or in as many millions of years, is and will remain a matter of speculation in the minds of men unless he give revelation on the subject. -- Brigham Young (19thC LDS President), Journal of Discourses, Liverpool Publishers, London, 1886, pg. 116 (14 May 1871).