Separation between Scientific Truth & Belief

UPDATE: People have been making a lot of assumptions about things that didn’t actually happen. I’m adding asterisk (*) places people have made assumptions and clarifying at the end. I’d like to start this blog post by saying just one simple thing I know to be true: I am a scientist. I may spend my days writing software, teaching, and too often doing astronomy communications research, but at the end of the day I’m a PhD Astronomer trained to do research in variable stars and galaxy evolution. That said, I’d like to say one more thing that isn’t contradictory to me: As much as I’m a scientist, I’m also a Christian. Being both puts me in a rather horrible position in our currently divided culture. Right now, there are...

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Lost in the vastness of space

Lost in the vastness of space

Tonight I co-gave the opening address at the Templeton Foundation supported Q3 conference on Cosmology and Theology. It was perhaps the most nerve wracking talk I’ve ever given. While I am a Christian, I must admit to being terrified of conservative Christians. I’ve just realized I can’t count the number of churches who have made me feel rejected because I spend my days studying our universe. At the same time, I’ve lost count of the number of scientists and skeptics who’ve claimed I can’t possibly be a real scientist or a real skeptic if I believe in God. Over the years, I’ve learned how to speak safely around scientists, and I’ve learned when to speak unsafely, but the Christians – they’ve continued...

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Between the Romans and the Lions

Between the Romans and the Lions

The other day I had an Astronomy Cast fan send me an email asking where I fall on the Dawkin’s Continuum. He was referring to the belief scale that Richard Dawkins laid out in his new book, The God Delusion. Within this system, individuals are divided by their level of belief that God does or does not exist. On his scale of 1 to 7, a person who is a strong theist, with 100% certainty that God exists, rates a 1. A person who is a firm atheist, who knows with 100% certainty that there is no God, rates a 7. Discussion of both this book and this scale are currently popular within skeptics circles and on atheist websites. Faced with this listener question, I have to admit to being a bit scared, because to many there is a “right answer.” This is a problem both when I deal both with scientists and with theologians (however the correct answer depends on the grader).

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