Science without Borders
Shermer, Michael, Skeptic (Altadena, CA)
The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Morgan Road Books/Random House. 2005, 209 pp. $24.95 ISBN: 0-7679-2066-X.
IN A 1987 LECTURE IN PASADENA, CA, on "The Burden of Skepticism," the astronomer Carl Sagan opined: "In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion."
Well, Carl, here's a little bit of good news on the religion front, from no less a personage than His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who writes in the Prologue of his latest book, The Universe in a Single Atom: "My confidence in venturing into science lies in my basic belief that as in science so in Buddhism, understanding the nature of reality is pursued by means of critical investigation: if scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims." Listen up, all ye who insist on forcing the round peg of science into the square hole of religion (creationists and Intelligent Design Theorists most notably): religious claims may or may not be consonant with scientific findings, but if they are not, it is wisest to err on the side of science because it employs a method that includes self-correcting machinery designed to weed out error, agenda, and bias.
Not only do scientists change their minds in the teeth of new and contradictory evidence, they do so regardless of the religion, race, or nationality of the scientific colleagues who are doing the contradicting. Science is …
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Publication information: Article title: Science without Borders. Contributors: Shermer, Michael - Author. Magazine title: Skeptic (Altadena, CA). Volume: 12. Issue: 2 Publication date: Summer 2005. Page number: 67+. © 2009 Skeptics Society & Skeptic Magazine. COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group.