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Grant R. Cramer cramer at MED.UNR.EDU
Wed Feb 18 14:43:24 EST 1998

>I hear you and understand precisely what you are
>saying.  Untenured and less-than-full professors
>must walk a certain line to achieve full-career
>potential first.  Us "gray-hairs" are the ones who
>really need to pick up the ball and run with it.
>If our science students cannot tell where science
>ends and religion begins, though, we do set up a
>societal problem.  If we expect our federal funds
>to continue to flow into our large state-supported
>schools, we need citizens and their representatives
>to know the difference.  When we get those graduates
>("I don't believe any of that crap but here's what
>you want me to say on this test") elected to public
>office and voting on funding for NSF, USDA, etc. we
>have a loose cannon and the blame is upon US.  We
>cannot afford to let our majors through without
>thorough appreciation of both types of inquiry.
>Why MUST science be funded by government and why
>MUST religion NEVER be funded by government?  If
>we cannot deal with such questions in our schools,
>we are short-changing students and ultimately
>By not discussing religion and contrasting it with
>science, our students get the impression that science
>is just another religion ("I don't believe any of that
>crap..."). By not squelching that erroneous idea,
>that unexpurgated thought condemns science by virtue of
>separation of church and state!  Goodbye NSF, etc.
>=46inally, a 1997 issue of Academe (publication of AAUP)
>is very helpful in on-campus discussions and awareness
>of the need to present what religion is so that we
>can know what science is not.  It also deals with
>the role of academic freedom in connection with
>any discussion of religion.  We DO have to be careful
>not to be preaching or teaching doctrines of any
>religion in state schools, but we MUST explain what
>religion IS and how it INQUIRES to distinguish that
>from what we do in science.  This much does meet
>the letter and spirit of the constitutional amendment
>calling for both religious freedom AND separation of
>church and state.  The local union officers and the
>university legal staff can help a faculty member learn
>what can be said and done that does not cross the
>constitutional lines.  We are wise to do as much as
>is legal IMHO.
>Ross Koning                 | koning at ecsu.ctstateu.edu
>Biology Department          | http://koning.ecsu.ctstateu.edu/
>Eastern CT State University | phone: 860-465-5327
>Willimantic, CT 06226 USA   | fax: 860-465-4479


Good points. Interesting that you should bring up the Religion of Science.
This actually is the title of a section in Scott Peck's book "The Road Less
Traveled". He talks a lot about faith, experimentation, and questioning and
challenging Dogma. He stresses the need to question everything, even within
the confines of religion. He is dealing with Psychology and Personal
Growth, subjects where Science and Religion can clearly overlap. I had to
go back and read it again last night after the many stimulating comments
from this thread.

I will throw out another question. When do you think students should deal
with Science in Religion? In introductory courses, advanced courses, or
maybe before college, in high school? Too me it seems a little late to be
dealing with this in my senior level courses.


Grant R. Cramer
Associate Professor
Department of Biochemistry, Mail Stop 200
University of Nevada,
Reno, NV 89557
Phone (702) 784-4204
Fax (702) 784-1650
email: cramer at med.unr.edu
web page: http://BIOCHEM.MED.UNR.EDU/faculty/grant_c/

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