To Natural History, Re: Religion and Science

I applaud Stephen Jay Gould’s promotion of tolerance and mutual respect between science and religion in his piece, “Nonoverlapping Magisteria” (“This View of Life,” March 1997). I too am a “cold bath” theorist who doesn’t find it emotionally cold to be so.

However, his suggestion that science “cannot claim higher insight into moral truth from any superior knowledge of the world’s empirical constitution” is a bit misleading. Having read Daniel Quinn’s “Ishmael” and “The Story of B,” it appears that scientific conclusions can be drawn about which ways of living destroy and which encourage life and harmony on the planet.

These conclusions may not be inherently moral, but neither is the conclusion that objects fall to the ground when dropped. If you want an object to hit the ground, though, science tells you how to do it. If you want to know how to live, science likewise has something to say on the subject.

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