Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Science only part of human condition

In his most recent column (?Dawkins Reveals Beauty of
Science,? March 11) Corey Sheahan revealed a towering ignorance of religious
ideas and propositions.

First, there’s his idea that ?understanding the wonder and
majesty of the universe? is somehow at odds with religious belief. Nothing
could be further from the truth. I can’t speak for all religions, but as a
practicing Catholic I believe that studying and understanding the workings of
the universe can only deepen my faith in God. Knowledge about the spectrum of
light, the age of the universe, the intricacies of molecular biology and the
laws of Newtonian physics do nothing to contradict my faith and can only
increase my appreciation for the brilliance of divine creation. As an example,
the Vatican astronomer ? an actual professional position in the Vatican ? does
not hold to the literal seven-day creation theory.

Secondly, there’s the notion that religion discourages
questions and rationality. I would suggest to Mr. Sheahan that he go beyond the
sound bites of TV evangelists and into the 2000-plus years of Christian writing
on the subject of faith and reason before he declares religion is closed to


Thomas Aquinas, working at the University of Paris in the
14th century, did nearly all his work in the academic question-and-argument
format of the time. He dealt with questions such as the existence of God using
rational, philosophical arguments ? not simply Biblical quotations or
statements demanding, ?You just have to believe.? For my part, I regularly ask
questions ? deep ones ? about my religion. I do so in order to seek answers.

?Science vs. religion? is a false dichotomy. The aim of
religion is not to provide us with facts about the natural, material universe ?
that is for the realm of scientific inquiry. Religion’s goal is to answer more
fundamental questions about existence. Science might provide us with a how, but
contrary to Mr. Sheahan’s assertion, it cannot answer ?why.?

Questions about ?why? relate to purpose. For what purpose do
we exist? For what purpose do we love others? For what purpose do we restrain
ourselves from doing things we know to be wrong? Can scientific knowledge
really tell how I should treat my family, or why I should be honest in school
and work, or why I shouldn’t crush whomever I can to get ahead?

A purely material view of the universe fails to quench the
thirst for meaning that all humans experience. That is why, for thousands of
years, humans have looked up to the stars and seen our creator looking back.


Sean Stiennon

UW Sophomore,
History and Economics

[email protected]

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *