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Science Trumps Religion

October 31, 2021 (373 words)

In the ongoing debate over whether or not to vaccinate for the COVID-19 virus, I recently heard an interesting take on the subject from the BBC World Service in London, courtesy of my local NPR affiliate that broadcasts this programming in what for us is the middle of the night.

The host was talking with two commentators who each fleshed out a different side of the argument. In Europe, where healthcare is provided by the state, it’s easier to mandate everyone be vaccinated in order to participate in public life. Here in the U.S, of course, we are live-free-or-die enthusiasts who pride ourselves on not being told what to do by any governmental agency.

Then one of the experts mentioned how some people are refusing the vaccine on religious grounds, without going into specifics. This exacerbated the other expert, who said: “we are now 200 years out from the Enlightenment, and you would think everyone knows science trumps religion.”

Hearing this piece of conventional wisdom repeated for the millionth time brought a smile to my face, as it always does. The idea that religion stands in opposition to science is patently false. No matter how a feisty partisan may misconstrue the facts in reaching this errant conclusion.

There is no denying the Enlightenment successfully put “religion” on the intellectual back burner. The hardcore materialist approach was adopted as the preferred societal construct by all who fancied themselves in the know. It’s easy to forget before atheism came into vogue, all the best scientists were devoutly religious. That is to say, they were Catholic.

Skepticism and outright disbelief in objective truth now rules the roost. From egg heads in the ivory tower to common folks on the street. Strange how we’ve all lost sight of a simple fact: The don’t-take-anything-for-granted approach known as the scientific method does a commendable job improving our level of understanding with each passing day, but it can never alter the fundamentals that undergird the material world.

Even if certain earnest souls who carry the banner of “religion” in today’s culture wars do a less-than-stellar job expressing the fullness and beauty of what are essentially immutable, metaphysical truths. Science never trumps religion. Science is religion’s best friend, its staunchest ally.

Robert J. Cavanaugh, Jr
October 31, 2021

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