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What do you think? “Transcending the Silly: Beyond the Science v. Religion Debate”

September 11, 2009

Transcending the Silly: Beyond the Science v. Religion Debate, Part IV
by Adam Frank at 2/4/9

It was all I could do to keep from hurling my jumbo buttered popcorn at the screen. A friend had taken me to see the new age hit “What the Bleep do We Know,” and a moment comes when one of the interviewees says, “Every morning I get up and change the quantum fields around me.” That was when the impulse to scream or laugh or throw the popcorn hit me. In the end, I just had to shake my head: It was just too silly.

In yesterday’s post, I identified what I called “The Sullen” as a dominant mode of talking about science and religion. The Sullen are the religious fundamentalists who angrily reject those scientific findings (evolutionary biology, physical cosmology, etc.) that conflict with their interpretation of scripture. Today, I will briefly touch on the other well-traveled road in public discourse on science and religion, which, for alliterative reasons, I call “The Silly.”

In the 1980s, two books, The Tao of Physics and The Dancing Wu Li Masters, permanently changed the popular conception of science and spirituality. These books sparked widespread interest in the confluence of science with eastern religious worldviews (Yogic and Buddhism). Quantum mechanics, the physics of subatomic phenomena, took center stage. Now the terms like “quantum healing” and the “observer phenomenon” have entered the lexicon of popular consciousness.  read more


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