Lisa Randall on the Value of Scientific Thinking

When Rick Perry, who defends teaching creationism in school, says evolution is merely “a theory that’s out there, it’s got some gaps in it,” he’s demonstrating a fundamental misunderstanding of scientific theory. And when he chooses to pray for the end of a drought rather than critically evaluate climate science, he is displaying the danger of replacing rational approaches with religion in matters of public policy. Logic tries to resolve paradoxes, whereas much of religious thought thrives on them. Adherents who want to accept both religious influences on the world and scientific explanations for its workings are obliged to confront the chasm between tangible effects and unseen, imperceptible influences that is unbridgeable by logical thought. They have no choice but to admit the inconsistency–or simply overlook the contradiction.

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