Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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Rees, Robert A.
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Religion and Science: A Symbiosis I 29 The apparent tough-minded objectivity of science arises not because it deals only in observations and logical tautologies, but because the social contract of this scientific community requires of all its members (1) that for the sake of free discussion truth be divorced as much as possible from anthropomorphic characterizations;35 (2) that questions of purpose in natural phenomena be left to metaphysicians wherever possible;36 (3) that every theory be submitted in good faith to experimental analysis; and (4) that experimental observations be made available to the entire community for rigorous public discussion. The idea of tacit knowledge sustained in a community by a tradition embodying rules of practice, mutual respect and a love of truth leads quickly to the realization that science, like vital religion, is a marvelous and fragile undertaking which can survive only under particularly favorable intellectual and spiritual conditions. This constitutes the fundamental basis for an alliance between the scientific and religious communities, for whatever threatens the survival of one imperils the continued existence of the other. Both disciplines, for example, are endangered by pietistic fallacies—represented in religion by an emphasis on outward appearances; in science, by the preoccupation with method and measurement. Pharisees and positivists serve important, but essentially negative, functions;37 left unchecked, they can vitiate and finally kill the profound inward aspects of both science and religion. Similarly, religion and science may be damaged or destroyed by the coupling of limitless moral outrage and philosophical skepticism in existentialism and Marxism. For if, as the existentialists assert, "man is his own beginning, author of all his values,"38 the acceptance of a communal tradition, so vital to the practice of religion or science, is an act of spiritual and intellectual treason, to be abhorred by every honest man. Or if, on the other hand, science and religion are controlled by the state as the embodiment of the people's will and ostensibly for its interests, individual freedom inevitably disappears— and without it, the creative re-interpretation of the scientific or religious heritage cannot occur.39 This is not to say that in such an alliance there would be no conflicts; there are profound points of disagreement, and what we must expect is a kind of creative dissonance, as in good friendships. But the day when one might feel obliged to keep religion in one mental compartment and science in another is past, or ought to be. Science, for its own good if for no other reason, can no longer pretend to be a world apart from the rest of man's intellectual and spiritual strivings. Moreover, the increasing demands on science to be responsive to human needs necessitates a rapprochement with the larger religious community, because it is there that the ultimate concern for human needs and values resides. A pervasive awareness of the essential unity of human life and values is not easily achieved. But to those who make the effort, there opens up the welcome prospect of a religious faith released from the pressure of an intolerably narrow perspective of the universe, and of a science helping in the discovery of "a meaningful world which could resound to religion."40 II. Science and the Consciousness of Reality It is tempting to assume that the great scholars of antiquity, the Renaissance and the Middle Ages did not develop modern science because their methods