Responding to Chrlane's comment on the previous post, I was struck by a thought that clarified so much of my squeamishness about the evolution vs. religion debate in recent years.
People like Pat Robertson and Sam Harris have been trying to force an OR between science and religion. Pat Robertson and others would say that the Bible is to be trusted on matters of origin more than scientists and would say that you can believe in God OR those secular scientists. Sam Harris would point to the illogic of certain scriptures and beliefs and say that you can believe in God OR science, but not both.
The secular scientists and religious fundamentalists both make me nervous for very similar reasons: they are insisting that we choose between science and religion, forcing an OR between the two.
Perhaps it is because the majority of us Americans are neither scientists nor theologians that we can so casually hold to our belief in science AND religion. I suppose that at some level it is logically inconsistent to hold to both.
But I also think I know enough about the process of science and faith to stop short of believing that either is infallible or, even, that they are addressing the same issues. I'm a Christian, yet the conversation about whether the Bible is inerrant seems to miss the point. For Christians, the foundational truths in the Bible are Christ's teachings - teachings typically communicated in the form of parables, stories that may or may not have happened. That is, the "truth" of the stories Jesus told have little to do with the truth they contain. By contrast, science is all about objective truth that can be measured, replicated, and studied.
I'm sure that there are plenty of people who would be horrified that I'm so naively and ignorantly insisting that the link between science and religion is AND rather than OR. And while the fundamentalists and agnostics who decry my lack of intellectual rigor may have a point, I think that they actually miss the larger point. Their conclusions are fundamentally uncivil - resulting in widespread dismissal of a large swath of the population. While forcing an OR between science and religion may work within the small confines of their own minds, it does not work within the wider expanse of society and civil discourse. I don't think it is any coincidence that whenever the OR groups gain power - whether they are running theocracies or atheist regimes - dissent is punishable by imprisonment OR death. As for me, I simply don't trust the OR groups, whether they claim to be operating under the guise of religion OR science.