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My Take: The case for including ethics, religion in science class
Science teachers must make their subject relevant to students' lives by tackling religion and ethics, argues Arri Eisen.
December 15th, 2011
10:48 AM ET

My Take: The case for including ethics, religion in science class

Editor's note: Arri Eisen, PhD., is professor of pedagogy at Emory University’s Center for Ethics, Department of Biology, and Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts.

By Arri Eisen, Special to CNN

A referendum that would have restricted in vitro fertilization in Mississippi, disagreements on the causes of global warming, the question of how to allot health care resources for desperate cases at the beginning or end of life.

Many of today's headlines and hyper-polarized political debates happen at the borders of science and society, especially where science meets ethics and religion.

At the same time, in at what first appears to be in an unrelated domain, President Barack Obama and others call for more and better science education in America to compete in innovation with rising giants India and China. This at a time when American science literacy appears to be decreasing, and even students who like science drop like flies from that pursuit once they hit college and its huge introductory lecture courses.

Is it possible that rethinking the ethical calculus of how we teach science could enhance the pool of future scientists and enrich the quality of conversation around controversial issues?

What’s the connection? Well, from kindergarten on we often teach science as a body of information not relevant to anything going on in the world. This is a cell and these are its parts; memorize them and their functions. This is the human body and these are the different systems of which it is composed.

Such facts are important, but without a meaningful context (cell functions gone awry can cause cancer; all the body systems talk to each other, so depression can affect your cardiovascular system) such information has little real substance and is poorly retained.

This approach violates the first rule of good teaching: Integrate the information into your students’ lives and worldviews, including those based in religion or ethical systems, and translate it into something they can connect with and use. Science has an especially rich and often fraught role to play in society; if we don’t at least acknowledge this we imply it is unimportant.

Not surprisingly, studies show that when teachers do integrate science knowledge into students' lives, the students learn the science better.

But rather than incentivize teaching innovation that would allow science educators to discuss religion and ethics –- for example, creationism in light of evolution and vice versa, or the scientific and ethical implications of stem cells and in vitro fertilization – many teachers are afraid to even mention these issues, despite their importance, for fear of losing their jobs.

The classic example is the public school biology teacher without tenure who, understandably, finds it much easier to skip any discussion of evolution because of its potential controversial nature. This would be OK except for the small detail that evolution is the fundamental, underlying principle of all biology.

I teach biology at a private university. When I ask students in my cell biology course, “How many of you believe in evolution?” almost all of them raise their hands. When I ask them, “How many of you think something in addition to evolution accounts for humans being on earth as we now exist?” almost all of them raise their hands.

Two inconsistent thoughts coexist without an attempt to reconcile or integrate them. It is this kind of dissonance of fundamental beliefs and science that good education should address and help explore, and certainly not ignore. Only when science educators can proactively engage all societal elephants in the room and illustrate science's relatively limited power will two vitally important things happen:

First, as they are forming their beliefs — whatever they may be — students will be aware of the nature of science and its relation to complex ethical and religious issues. That means they’ll better appreciate different types of evidence and will be more likely to argue from and about that evidence rather than from emotion. Second, more students initially interested in science will continue to pursue it through college because they will better see its value and importance to the big issues and will learn science better.

How to accomplish this? How to break the vicious circle? One way is to frame the benefits differently — economic competition and innovation, national security, improved learning, or more substantial political debate — for different constituencies. For example, perhaps a politically conservative, religious audience might appreciate the importance of good science education through the lens of its importance to the economy or national security.

Another break in the circle is to help teachers learn how to teach science in context more effectively. I often find that simply acknowledging the ethical or religious issue relaxes students; a few others  have explored approaches for better integration of these issues.

In my cell biology course, we investigate the biology and chemistry of a cell surface receptor that helps induce good feelings in us when it binds to a chemical compound found in incense; this may help explain why so many different cultures and religions have independently evolved the use of incense in their ceremonies and rituals.

We discuss the detailed cellular and molecular biology of the research in the context of ritual; the students report this opens a door that’s usually closed between those two sides of their minds. Religious students, who say they often feel their beliefs are ignored or belittled on campus, find this discussion especially welcome and thought-provoking.

High school educators in Wisconsin showed that students who read original texts from Darwin and intelligent-design scholars, and discussing those texts, critically learned evolution better (without rejection of other worldviews) than those taught it in the traditional didactic manner. Teaching potentially controversial science can work if done in an interactive, engaging fashion and in a rich historical and societal context.

Clearly, there are a multitude of reasons for America’s polarized politics and decreasing science literacy and innovation that go beyond just teaching science better. But sometimes a little creative wrestling with and engagement in systems and programs that already exist can make a difference.

Once I offered the opportunity for anyone in the cell biology course to simultaneously take a seminar course focusing on the societal and ethical implications of the biology discussed in the cell course. Half the biology class wanted to enroll in the seminar.

A dozen students — all future scientists and health care workers — wound up in the course, representing seven different religions and traditions, from Christianity to Jainism to Judaism.

Students were amazed so many of their peers took religion seriously, and those students tell me that the conversations and debates we had in the course, together with the seminar, resonate to this day. Many say science is now woven together with ethics and religion in their minds; they can’t think about biology without thinking about its meaning in the greater context.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Arri Eisen.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Culture & Science • Education • Opinion

soundoff (2,297 Responses)
  1. Bill Clay

    For all the bible scholars, one of the most famous quotes "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle" was recently shown to be a misinterpretation. In the original writings, the quote was "a rope through the eye of a needle" making a logical comparison between a thin thread and a thick rope. But because ropes were made from braided camel hairs, the ancient word for rope was misunderstood by translators as "camel". So for 2,000 years people have been quoting a misinterpretation. It makes you wonder what else in the Bible is wrong, also.

    December 15, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
    • Onel

      hayt (string) and gemel (camel) are NOT the same thing.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
    • Observer

      That's okay. All nonsense in the Bible is given the alabi that common words don't mean what everyone knows them to mean.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
  2. Josh Emerson

    Christianity is the biggest lie ever enforced on mankind.

    December 15, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
    • moonster

      The biggest lies are the labels we put on ourselves and others.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
    • wisdom4u2

      That's a very unintelligent thing to say, considering …you won’t find that out until you DIE, droof!!

      December 15, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
    • Answer

      @wisdom4u

      "That's a very unintelligent thing to say, considering …you won’t find that out until you DIE, droof!!"

      Just like any other religious retard – threats, and emotional threats. Blackmail and more threats.
      Your kind are outdated and need to die off. Go back to reading George's posts. You are exactly like him!
      When religious fools can't win they always use threats. So hilarious.

      Go die you ID-iots!

      December 15, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
    • wisdom4u2

      @ Answer ~~~ Well....Believe it or not...not only do I matter, but for some reason, I'm taught that 'you' actually matter...so, you are NOT insulting me one bit.
      However, I do feel sorry for you...you're so mean and full of hopelessness! : (

      December 15, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
  3. Nima Zamani

    Religion has no place in science class.

    December 15, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
  4. Ed

    The author ignored his own point. If you're going to put science and religion in context with each other, the worst way to do it is to compare/contrast evolution with creationism. The proper way to put these in context is to explain how evolution resulted in brains that are susceptible to religion.

    December 15, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
    • awaysaway

      I like that

      December 15, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
  5. Brendan Flynn

    Fair enough, but how about adding science to a religion class ?

    December 15, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
    • PROGRESSIVEJUSTLIKEJESUS

      TOUCHE!

      December 15, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
    • acutabove

      This has been done is is still being done. Many of the greatestest scientists were Christians.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:41 pm |
  6. DSI

    Pondering and debating the unknowable belongs in a philosophy course, not a course intended to convey known facts about the PHYSICAL world. I've taken many courses in science and engineering and if I ever heard anything like this guy is proposing I would get up and walk out and find someone to teach me what I came to learn

    December 15, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
  7. Oodoodanoo

    Evolution is about how life changes, not how it began. Similarly, physics can explain how the universe evolves, but not how it began.

    Science honestly says, "I don't know."

    That is NOT a cue for witch doctors to get up and start talking about unicorns or virgin births.

    Mr. Eisen, if your students believe in evolution as well as some kind of divine creation, that's fine. Science doesn't have the facts to contradict them.

    YOU are making up the contradiction in order to wheel in mythologies - mythologies that do make claims about the physical world, claims which have been proven false.

    December 15, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
  8. Kirk

    We of the church of the flying Spaghetti monster thoroughly agree that Religion should be present in science class, and to support this we will make educational materials available, along with a suggested day's class outline, at our own expense. Please contact church HQ at our website for details.

    December 15, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
    • sharoom

      Ramen! All hail the Flying Spaghetti Monster and His Noodly Appendages!

      December 15, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
  9. DittoFranco

    another Lame Attempt to bring Religion closer to Science.

    December 15, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
  10. Mikey

    Science is based on the truth. Normally proven mathematically. Religion is based on the super natural...and that's not a negative comment, it's the truth. Personally, I think that the proven facts of science should be taught in school. It opens up a lot of doors for our future thinkers that otherwise may not be exposed to the truth of science. Religion is a "belief" not based on any fact, and there are many religions that all conflict each other. Believe what you want...but keep it out of the class room.

    December 15, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
    • moonster

      Hey Mikey there are things that defy the laws of psychics. Science ain't truth.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
    • acutabove

      But when science theory is taught (like it is today) as if science has all or will someday have all the answers, then this act of believing in science becomes an act of faith and makes science itself a religion.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
    • moonster

      Physics jeez cannot spell tonight. Ha being human ain't it grand.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ummm, yeah, science IS truth. Only an idiot would think otherwise.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ridiculous. Presuming that because science hasn't found the answer to every problem thus far means that it never will is typical nonsense spewed by the idiots who failed every science class they ever took.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
    • wisdom4u2

      Sorry, you are badly mistaken! Don’t think for one second that the Bible doesn’t mention ‘numbers’, as in ‘math’, as in ‘equations’. One reason is…anyone could misinterpret the Bible’s written ‘word’; but we, who know how mathematics work, know that no one can misinterpret the numeracy of the Bible. Numeric’s is the same in any language….producing only one ‘true’ answer….only misinterpreted by mo rons : )

      December 15, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
    • md2205

      The fact that some religions conflict with each other doesn't disprove "religion" – meaning that G-d created the world. However, you have to remember that Christianity is based on the teachings of one man who said G-d spoke to him and told him his previous word to the Jewish people is hereby abrogated, and this supposed "being spoken to" was without witnesses. No one saw G-d speak to that person. Islam is based on the same – Mohammed went to Heaven and G-d gave him a book, but there were no witnesses. But the Bible says 24 times that when G-d gave the Bible to Moses, He gave it in the presence of the entire Jewish people. These people were 3 million strong just coming out of Egypt. 3 million people saw G-d give the Torah (Bible) to Moses. There were witnesses, and they passed this information down through the generations to their children, etc. until nowadays. Now for one man to get up and say that G-d took back His word to the Jews and there were no witnesses to that conversation, well, who do you want to believe – one man, or three million?

      December 15, 2011 at 10:27 pm |
    • Answer

      @wisdom4u2

      Finally showing your "true" garbage that you're hiding. That of ID-iots.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:30 pm |
    • McSkeptic

      @moonster

      "Hey Mikey there are things that defy the laws of psychics. Science ain't truth."

      Name one thing that's been shown (that means there's *evidence* to support the physics-defying phenomena) to defy the laws of physics. Just one.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
    • moonster

      McSkeptic put the following phrase in any certain search engine – defy physics – you will see several results. If my memory serves me there is at least 10-12 things that defy physics. Therefore Science isn't truth.

      December 15, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
  11. you dont get it

    I totally agree with the religious folks on this one guys. They do need their views represented in our public schools. Since humans defined science as a general knowledge of proven and unproven theories, this information can be listed in the text books. However, just like the big bang theory, creationism needs to be listed as an unproven theory, with no fact. If religion wants to play in the NFL(aka Science), you will need to admit that you may be wrong because it is only theory. The NFL has its own set of rules everyone has agreed upon and everyone will follow them. If you do not want to play by the rules, be prepared to get kicked off the field.

    Religions will need to admit their theories are neither true or false. This is the problem for the pious as they aren't aloud to do this. To say this goes against the word of the Bible. To not address this issue only shows the purpose of adding religion to the textbooks is to say religion is correct, and science is not.

    On a side note, lets inject physical science to the bible. If science needs to help the other side out, so does religion.

    Who wants to continue to say the current setup is unfair and needs to be integrated in our public school systems?

    December 15, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
    • Primewonk

      You don't even understand the scientific definition of theory. You also don't understand that in science we don't prove things, we explain things.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
    • Kim

      But whose religion? The Christian majority? But what about the Jews? The Muslims? The Hindus? The Buddhists? The Wiccans? The Daoists? The religions of the West have very different ideas about life than the religions of the East. That's just one reason (among many) why religion does not belong in the schools.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
  12. HappyAgnostic

    The inherent problem with the debate about creationism vs. evolution is simply that evolution, while still a theory, has decades of scientific research, study, data, and facts to support the theory, and creationism is based on one sentence written in one book, during a era and in a region that wasn't even aware that over half the planet even existed, and there is not a shred of "evidence" to support it (Creationist Museums in Kansas not withstanding). Belief is not science.
    I certainly agree that there should be more discussion about how science and religion can and should coexist in schools, but the idea of teaching creationism as some sort of alternative to evolution makes about as much sense as a school system teaching ebonics as an alternative to English, and is the job of the church, not the schools.

    December 15, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
    • Bob Crock

      Do you know what scientific "theory" means? When a hypothesis if verified as true, it becomes a theory: "a scientific hypothesis that survives experimental testing becomes a scientific theory";

      December 15, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
    • Ed

      The word theory simply means scientific explanations. Proven theories (such as evolution) do not magically turn into something else. They will always be theories until the end of time (even/especially when proven).

      December 15, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
    • Bruce

      The museum is in Kentucky, not Kansas; same place where the governor wanted to spend state money on an Ark theme park...

      December 15, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
  13. wisdom4u2

    Ah... Atheism would be totally destroyed if ‘true’ science was taught in every science class! Furthermore, most atheist can’t even grasp any revelations of the newly discovered elements of science; should they do so…. it would just blow their ‘unbelief’ clear out of their hardened lil’ hearts.

    December 15, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
    • Bob Crock

      Ignore the fool!

      December 15, 2011 at 10:12 pm |
    • wisdom4u2

      @Bob Crock
      Don't call yourself names, fool!

      December 15, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
    • Really

      Spot the almost completed high school education.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
    • Answer

      Stupid ID-iots and their junk.

      Go off and die wisdom – your kind are not needed on this earth any longer.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
    • wisdom4u2

      @ Answer ~~~ Oh, I will die one day, but so will you!! And, I am very much needed, just ask all the people who depend on me....I'm very blessed and I know it!!

      December 15, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
    • Answer

      @wisdom4u

      Your kind are never needed. They never mattered in any scope except the spreading of hate and violence.
      Your existence and your kind need to be done away – sooner the better.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
    • McSkeptic

      Look! It's an invisible pink unicorn! Hah! Fooled you!

      December 15, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
    • wisdom4u2

      @ Answer ~~~ Believe it or not...not only do I matter, but for some reason, I'm taught that 'you' actually matter...so, you are NOT insulting me one bit.
      However, I do feel sorry for you...you're so mean and full of hopelessness! : (

      December 15, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
  14. md2205

    "Good to know that we have a blogger here who knows more than the biblical scholars that spent great time to translate the Bible." It doesn't pay to be sarcastic when someone presents new information. Biblical scholars were nothing more than fictional interpreters. They applied "rules" to writing that are ineffective in translating the Bible. To know what the Bible says, a person has to learn it in the original Hebrew with all the markings around the words. An Orthodox rabbi is the only one who knows how to interpret it. If you would learn it with him, you would see how the Bible makes sense. By the way, the people who translated the Bible into Latin were Christians, who had a vested interest in interpreting the Bible the way they wished to see it as including references to someone that is totally outside the Bible, and therefore they intentionally mistranslated many words. Since they mistranslated some words, they had to change what followed because it didn't make sense. The Bible was afterward translated into English, but once you translate from one language to another and the first language's translation was off, just makes the later translations more off.

    December 15, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
  15. moonster

    Where do you think society's morals and ethics come from? They are all borrowed. God and science can get along fine it just certain humans who choose to create chaos.

    December 15, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
    • awaysaway

      Morals, ethics, teamwork,etc, have evolutionary advantages. They don't need an invisible god or gods.I am nice to people for any number of reasons – but definitely because I live in fear of a god/gods or that I hope to go to a magical happy place when I am dead.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
    • moonster

      Nice try...all society morals are borrowed from sacred writ.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
    • md2205

      G-d and science can get along fine, it is true. However, with the realization that science is a way to learn about the physical properties of the world. And we are still learning, and in the process, may change many theories as more facts are found. Therefore, it it not correct to take it to an extreme and say all science, and only science, is fact and the TRUTH. It is a process of learning. G-d created the physical world with its rules and wants people to work to figure out His world and make it a better place.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
  16. Candace Clough

    incorporation of mythology with science to help ppl believe science? hogwash.

    December 15, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
    • awaysaway

      Agreed.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
  17. Clint

    This such a no brainer (which is appropriate considering the people making these suggestions seem to have no brain...).

    Religion should be taught about (and perhaps even warned about) in social studies and maybe history classes.

    It has no business in a science class.

    December 15, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
  18. Stephanie

    No.

    December 15, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
  19. acutabove

    There are many, many gaps in the Theories of the birth of the universe and of evolution.

    I am a scientist, and will try to keep this discussion elementary, but here are just 2 examples:

    How could the "Big Bang" happen when scientific LAW (not theory) says that nothing changes unless acted upon by an outside force? There could be no "outside force" before the unviverse (which includes the flow of time) unless something exists outside the universe and time. Paralell/multi-universe theories only delay the question because one of them had to come first.) That force which created our universe could be God. Anyone not just being hateful must realise that possibility.

    How could life have evovled when in order for life to exist (before it could even evolve) there must be complex proteins made up of complex molecules called ammino acids. These molecules could not evolve because they can not reproduce. A complex molecule cannot replicate without other complex molecules already iin existence.which could not evolve because there would not have been the complex molecules before them. Even the simplest lifeforms are made of these complex molecules that cannot be made outside of a life form but according to the theory of evolution the molecules had to evolve outside a life form.

    Many more examples exist!

    It seems to me that Christians are not the hateful people described by secularists. In fact, just look at these comments to see that the Christians are the targets of those who hate.

    Throughout history, many of the greatest scientists were Christian because we are trying to figure out how God did the things He did!

    The MOST IMPORTANT things in our lives are those things which cannot be proven by science, like love and God. Someone who never experienced love may say that it does not exist. It can not be proven to exist! But those who have experienced love know it to be real. Just like those who have experienced God (like me) know Him to be real!

    December 15, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
    • Greg

      Amino acids have been discovered in comets, asteroids, and can be produced in lab experiments simulating pre-biotic chemistry that existed on early Earth. No magic required.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Blah, blah, blah.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
    • Bob Crock

      You are a fool, with no education at all. That is obvious.,

      December 15, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
    • BigRed

      As a scientist you know that the search for quantifiable phenomena is the gold standard to prove any scientific fact. But you also surely know that not everything is known and quantifiable. Black holes, dark matter, and a host of other discoveries of non quantifiable phenomena are being explored daily. The fact that something is not known does not mean that an answer is not forthcoming eventually. Science constantly evolves and the "could never be" or "never will work" statements of today's scientists are invalidated more often then not. Your statements would have us believe that all that is known today is all that will ever be known. Sorry that's not scientifically appropriate. There are no limits to science. Religion and Science are two different things and should remain that way without conjunction or comparison. Nothing in science is based on faith. Science is based only on observation and hypothesis.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:12 pm |
    • Candace Clough

      wow, scientist huh? Newton's law of motion does not state that "nothing" changes without outside intervention.. it's VELOCITY of a body in motion.. nice try at sounding smart but there's one problem... the rest of us have GOOGLE at our fingertips!

      December 15, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
    • John

      Well that proves it Greg!!! First amino acids, then a few million years later: voila - People. It's so simple!!! thanks for your insightful post.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
    • Greg

      John, unfortunately there's no way to educate you in a post. Go read a book.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
    • md2205

      Why do you say Christians are not hateful people? More Jews were killed by Christians than by Moslems throughout history. The Nazis were Christian and they did a great job killing people, and the Pope didn't bother telling them to stop. In fact, the Pope told them not to separate the families that they took from Czechoslovakia in the trains to the concentration camps to exterminate them. He didn't tell them not to take the Jews to be killed. The Popes throughout the ages condemned the Jews for killing their G-d even though the Jews didn't use that method of murder – the Romans used it. The Pope only recently said the Jews didn't kill their G-d. The Spanish Inquisition was Church-authorized and killed and burned alive thousands of Jews and kicked out thousands more from Spain, Portugal, and other countries, and even chased Jews in South America. Then the Church took the property of the Jews whose lives they destroyed. The Inquisition laws were still on the books into modern history. The Crusades destroyed community after community of Jews as they rode to the (Jews') Promised Land to conquer it, and didn't forget to murder entire Jewish communities on the way. There is more than what I wrote about as well. Today, countries headed by people who are Christian and have learned the Christian way of life and way of thinking excoriate Israel even though it is the Arab countries who actually do what Israel is always accused of doing.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
    • A Mom

      "It seems to me that Christians are not the hateful people described by secularists. In fact, just look at these comments to see that the Christians are the targets of those who hate."

      Right here I stopped thinking about taking you seriously. Rampant generalizations about what 'you people' think will never get you any credibility or respect.

      Rampant generalization about the Christian faith:
      You wage wars and slaughter anything you don't agree with over the span centuries.
      You feign persecution and hurt feeling to get your way.
      You are statistically the worst tippers in America.
      You are the first ones to attack an apposing religion's viewpoints.
      You say you have compassion for other people, but then stand outside spitting on them with signs if they do something you don't like. Horrible crimes have been committed in the name of faith including the killing of doctors, the segregation of Americans, the deaths of countless gay people in them name of piety, all within the last 75 years.

      See how that would get someone who doesn't share your viewpoint to stop listening to you?

      December 15, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
    • Dr.K.

      There are indeed many things that are poorly understood, or absolutely unknown, but to take our ignorance as proof of God doesn't get us anywhere. If God is consistently relegated to the dark corners at the edges of our understanding we just make God smaller and more abstract with every advance in knowledge.

      Besides, God is not the de facto alternative to every argument. If the big bang model is imperfect, that doesn't automatically mean that "therefore, God" is the only alternative. I don't truly understand how my microwave works, but that doesn't provide evidence as to whether or not God exists.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
    • jj

      We have no clue how or why the big bang happened – or if it happened. The science and physics are WAY beyond us. I can say with a clear conscience that god created the universe – but my 'god' is Mother Nature and Science. The one that tells me that when a star explodes, the material may coalesce and form new stars and planets. That makes me believe that when certain compounds and conditions combine, life forms. We may someday find out that life isn't that uncommon. Maybe even advanced life.
      If you are saying that 'god' is an outside force that started time as we know it (if we understand it), then we can agree. When you tell me this god happens to be the one that you believe in, who made this whole universe (that part we can conceive) for Adam and Eve and Noah, and wrote books and commandments for Man... we have a problem.
      And why do people seem to hate christians so? Because they insist they understand some special link – and want the rest of us to believe it too. Even tho we may have minds of our own. Stay out of my life, schools and politics, keep your beliefs in your church, and you will hear a whole lot less hatred. And it's not hatred as much as that we are sick of hearing from them.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
    • Beam

      Excellent post. Science IS in the bible. Do a google search people, 'science and the bible', and you will find some interesting bible verses that back up science...how the world and the universe and many other things work that line up with what science says. Science is in fact just now catching up with the bible! One example is the bible says the stars are countless. When we first started gazing at the stars we thought they could be counted and people said the bible was wrong...until a telescope was invented. lol. And yes its true many of the earliest scientist were Christians. Sadly over recent years (spanning many on here's lifetime) people have divided up saying science has nothing to do with religion and religion has nothing to do with science and everyone took sides when it really used to not be that way. They used to work together. The Catholic church didn't exactly help though in those early days of major discoveries because they took the bible too literally in places it shouldn't have been taken literally. That is another story though

      At any rate as a Christian myself I very much enjoy science and see it as no threat to my faith. Sadly its not like that with many Christians anymore because too many atheists have made science their religion and try to use it to harm our beliefs...so Christians have come to think science as a bad thing...but its not! Its in the bible and I believe another mode for us to learn about our Creator. Plus its just silly to ignore the fact that in the public forums it IS hotly debated the moral issues on many science issues. To try to exclude that from classrooms is a disservice to the students who see and hear these debates on any news site and on TV yet they aren't given access to all the facts to make any judgement for themselves. They are left at the mercy of information a reporter gives and so called experts (all of this which can be very slanted and facts omitted to get public opinion to go a certain way)

      So yea...I think its a great idea. Sorry to see so many aren't open minded enough for this idea though.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
    • Kevin

      John, put your straw man away before someone gets hurt. No one says it's that simple. If you're interested in the latest studies on abiogenesis (the study of the origin of life) I recommend you do a search for Szostak at Harvard. Scientists do not pretend to have a cogent theory of the origin of life, but there is a lot that we do know. I encourage you to take a look.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
    • John

      I sure would like to be educated by Greg. I'm sure he's super smart.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
    • acutabove

      My degree is doctorate, my Iq tests are genius, nad I rest my case about secularists being hateful.

      The existence of A.A.'s on asteroids only implies that life might exist in space. Or that a biobe was contacted on the desent to earth. no scientist has ever been able to get A.A.'s to reproduce outside a living organism which must first have complex molecules in place.

      The laws of thermodynamics do require that for the big bang to have happened, it must have been acted on by an outside force. Google knowledge is almost alwys superficial. Delve deeper!

      I don't say that Christians cannot do evil. But when anyone does they are not being truel Christian. People are killed by people, and religion is often used as an excuse to obtain goals that an individual or group wants. This does not make the belief in God incorrect, only man's misuse of religion wrong.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:29 pm |
  20. AtheistDude

    This is most idiotic Ph.D person I have ever heard! Let me break it to you this way Sir! your students and you are morons for believing that something else in addition to evolution accounts for humans being on earth as we now exist?” almost all of them raise their hands. No wonder America is doomed! Look at CERN and people in Europe and learn from them!

    December 15, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
    • acutabove

      I never said I could prove the existence of God. I only point out the flaws in the arguments used to wrongly disprove God. I don't expect anyone who does not know God to believe in Him. But noone conversely can say that something I know to be true cannot even exist. The science is lacking. Science has been wrong before and much that we believe to be fact today will be shown to be wrong in the future.

      P.S I know that my mother loves me, even though I can't prove it scientifically.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.