A Science -- Religion Truce? Is it Possible?
He starts by giving a bit of background on the issue -- that is -- how we got to this point. There have been three eras. The first, which ran into the Medieval period, was dominated by philosophy and theology. The second era, the era of Descartes and Galileo was one of asking questions of received traditions -- which of course gave birth to Darwin and onwards to Dawkins. Religion lost its place in the discussion. Now, we move into a new era (that seems to be a common theme -- see Phyllis Tickle's Great Emergence and Harvey Cox's soon to be released Future of Faith (HarperOne). In this new era, religion and science need not be kept in two hermetically sealed spheres, nor must one trump the other. Instead, they can talk to each other in fruitful and respectful conversation. Each can learn from the other. This "post-modern" move is, Clayton the way of the future. Of course, being that this is a transitional moment, the discussion won't be easy.
Thus, he concludes:
In the American public square today, it’s hard to find discussions of the interplay between science and religion that achieve what our society most needs: genuine self-criticism on both sides, born of the recognition that both sides will have to do some bending if any sort of truce is to be achieved.
Yet if we do not begin to engage in productive partnerships, how will we address those urgent global issues (such as global climate change) that can be solved only if the sciences and the religious traditions learn to work in tandem?
I suppose the question that must be asked, and an answer awaited, concerns the contribution that theology/religion can make to these important discussions.