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Sun Jul 28, 2013, 01:56 PM

R.I. Episcopal Bishop W. Nicholas Knisely bridges the religion-science divide

http://www.providencejournal.com/breaking-news/content/20130728-r.i.-episcopal-bishop-w.-nicholas-knisely-bridges-the-religion-science-divide.ece

July 28, 2013 01:00 AM


Frieda Squires/The Providence Journal
W. Nicholas Knisely, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island, says the gap between religion and science is not as wide as commonly believed.

BY RICHARD C. DUJARDIN
Journal Staff Writer

LITTLE COMPTON — Well before he became Rhode Island’s Episcopal bishop, the Right Rev. W. Nicholas Knisely lived in two worlds. As a priest and rector of a church in Bethlehem, Pa., he looked after people’s spiritual needs. Then he’d hop in a car and travel across the river to nearby Lehigh University to teach physics and astronomy.

His double role came about in part because the school had learned that before he became a priest he had earned degrees in both astronomy and physics. In agreeing to the post, however, Knisely had one condition: that he’d be allowed to teach class wearing his clerical garb.

But as Bishop Knisely recounted to packed pews at a forum last week at St. Andrew’s-by-the-Sea, the priestly attire created quite a stir. Many were stunned to see a man of the cloth teaching science.

He says he understood their confusion. For so long, they had believed that religion and science were fundamentally at odds, the result of long-worn stories about the church’s treatment of Galileo centuries ago and more modern stories about fundamentalist believers trying to ban the teaching of evolution in school.

more at link

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Sun Jul 28, 2013, 02:02 PM

1. I heard of him and I am glad they got him in Ri. I was not a fan of the bishop before him.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #1)

Sun Jul 28, 2013, 02:09 PM

2. This is the first I have heard of him, but he sounds really cool.

I bet there will be a lot of demand for his courses.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Sun Jul 28, 2013, 02:41 PM

3. I think his accusation against scientists is spurious

And scientists can go over the edge as well, he says, as in the way some are so willing to dismiss human suffering, such as arguments defending war as a form of population control.

That sort of thinking, he said, may be “logical,” but also immoral. “Religion has something to say about the sacredness of life and how important human beings are, because we are made in the image of God.”


Are many scientists willing to dismiss human suffering? Defending war as a form of population control? Really, I can't think I've ever heard of that (for one thing, war is not an effective method of population control - populations typically go up in all but the most catastrophic wars, but I really can't think of any scientist saying "we need a war to decrease the population".

As for religion and the 'sacredness of life':



though note that frequent churchgoers are less in favour of the death penalty than those who attend church seldom or never - implying its those nominal Christians who are the most bloodthirsty Americans of all; but frequent churchgoers are still more in favour that those without a religion:



Protestants and Frequent Churchgoers Most Supportive of Iraq War

Least supportive are non-Christians and people with no religion





http://www.gallup.com/poll/21937/protestants-frequent-churchgoers-most-supportive-iraq-war.aspx

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #3)

Sun Jul 28, 2013, 02:53 PM

4. I've never heard that thing about wars either.

Some of those statistics are not surprising, as support of the death penalty is even more sharply divided down political lines, as non-believers tend to be more liberal and democrats.




http://www.gallup.com/poll/159770/death-penalty-support-stable.aspx

There have also been some changes noted in more recent surveys:

Despite the moral nature of the death penalty as a political issue, with teachings on it differing among the various faiths, Gallup finds virtually no difference in support for it on the basis of respondents' religious background. Two-thirds of Protestants and Catholics, alike, are in favor of the death penalty as a punishment for murder, as are at least six in 10 adults regardless of whether they attend church weekly, monthly, or less often. Only among those who say they have no religious preference, which would include atheists and agnostics, is there a difference, with a slightly smaller 56% in favor of the death penalty.


(same link)

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #3)

Sun Jul 28, 2013, 03:31 PM

5. The Episcopal Church is against the death penalty and we did not support the Iraq war.

 

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #3)

Mon Jul 29, 2013, 08:48 AM

9. His statements are doubly wrong.

And scientists can go over the edge as well, he says, as in the way some are so willing to dismiss human suffering, such as arguments defending war as a form of population control.


Like you, I've never heard any scientists making claims like that.

However, I *have* heard religious individuals make statements to dismiss human suffering ("It's all part of god's plan!" or defend genocide to control the population of groups they don't like.

Lots of projection going on.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Sun Jul 28, 2013, 04:07 PM

6. Can we send a man like this to Ball State

check out what is going on there (http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/science-course-at-ball-state-university-sneaks-in-religion/)

The syllabus makes for interesting reading. This is for an optional freshman honors course in a science department. So in other words the brightest and most ambitious freshman get exposed to a one sided argument in favor of Intelligent Design (look at the reading list). If you are going to do a course like this, you need to have it at least team taught with a scientist who supports naturalism as an explanation of physical events. That could turn into a fascinating study of the many limitations of intelligent design.

Also Ball State just hired the author of Privileged Planet, Guillermo Gonzalez. Hopefully Dr. Gonzalez will work towards developing an academic reputation that supports tenure (suggestion - leave out your book from you application for tenure). His hiring should hopefully shut Ben Stein up.

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Response to exboyfil (Reply #6)

Sun Jul 28, 2013, 04:16 PM

7. No Darwin on the reading list for a course that looks at evolution?

That is indeed a bizarre "science" course.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #7)

Mon Jul 29, 2013, 12:09 PM

15. Course description says:

Study of introductory principles within the physical sciences, emphasizing the relationships of the sciences to human concerns and society ...
http://www.bsu.edu/common/course/0,1481,---HONR-296,00.html

Evolution isn't in the course description

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Response to exboyfil (Reply #6)

Sun Jul 28, 2013, 04:26 PM

8. Hedin's refeered scientific publication list looks acceptable

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #8)

Mon Jul 29, 2013, 10:32 AM

11. One of his research interests is teleology.

Is that a legitimate scientific topic?

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #11)

Mon Jul 29, 2013, 12:03 PM

14. There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with this publication list:

http://cms.bsu.edu/-/media/WWW/DepartmentalContent/Physics/PDFs/Hedin/PublicationsHedin%20%283%29.pdf

If he likes to think sometimes about philosophical questions, that doesn't seem to be affecting his ability to get legitimate scientific papers published

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Mon Jul 29, 2013, 10:13 AM

10. Is the conversation happening?

“I think it’s so important that these two groups have a conversation. I’d like to tell you it already happens in our churches, our universities, our coffee houses, and where people play with ideas. And if it does, that’s a hopeful thing.”


I didn't quite follow that. Is he just saying he doesn't know whether or not it's happening, or is he saying it is happening?

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #10)

Mon Jul 29, 2013, 11:26 AM

12. I think it happens, but not often enough and perhaps only in an informal way.

And I think that's what he is saying here.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #12)

Mon Jul 29, 2013, 11:32 AM

13. It looks like the type of statement that may come across much more clearly in person.

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