Science and the belief in miracles

The senior project scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope is a woman of faith. That doesn’t make Dr. Jennifer Wiseman a creationist, of course, but she does believe in God, and in miracles. Will Saletan at recalls these observations Wiseman made a few months back at a forum on religion and public life:

I tend to think of a miracle as possible, and that miracles actually have happened, but they are just what they sound like: They are a miracle. There’s something that’s outside of the natural working of the forces of nature, and so science is not equipped to address that one way or the other. Science is equipped to address how things normally and naturally work. So as a scientist, I study the universe in the way it normally and naturally works and has worked throughout the whole history of time. I don’t look for anything else, because my scientific tools are not equipped to measure anything else. But does that mean that nothing outside of the normal, natural physical processes that science can address ever happened or ever does happen? Well, science can’t answer that question. So I have to answer that question in some other way. And to me, the answer is yes, because I see both historical and personal evidence for God’s actions …

Saletan discusses the value of compartmentalizing one’s faith in the face of scientific realities. “You don’t have to disabuse everyone of religion,” he writes. “Clear a path for science, and let faith have its space.” Read his essay here.

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