Science and Faith: Why All the Tension?

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Road Less Traveled" by M. Scott Peck. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Why does there seem to be tension between science and faith? Why are so many scientists atheists?

In The Road Less Traveled, Dr. M. Scott Peck touches on the tension between science and faith. He shares two reasons why many scientists reject evidence of God, and he asserts that theists dismiss the legitimacy of science.

Keep reading to learn Dr. M. Scott Peck’s view on the perceived discord between science and faith.

The Tension Between Science and Faith

According to Dr. M. Scott Peck, there is a natural dissonance between the concepts of science and faith. For example, scientists are generally unwilling to accept evidence of God. There are two reasons for this.

Reason #1: God Cannot Be Measured

Science is based entirely on the ability to observe, experience, and verify. Consequently, truth is defined by what is measurable. For something to be measurable, it has to be experienced and observed with replicable accuracy. Anything that is not predictable enough to fit within these boundaries is often rejected. God is abstract and cannot be measured. Therefore, many scientists don’t take the concept of God seriously.

Reason #2: God Does Not Abide by Natural Laws

Using its methodology of measurement, science has determined a number of natural laws used to make sense of observable phenomena. These laws have become deified, and when something observed doesn’t fit into one, it is seen as illegitimate. 

Dr. M. Scott Peck asserts that religion similarly dismisses the legitimacy of science, arguing that those who believe in God don’t feel there is value in measurement or tangible understanding of what cannot be explained. Both science and faith refuse to compromise their perceptions.

Science and Faith: Why All the Tension?

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  • The four key elements in the path to enlightenment
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Elizabeth Whitworth

Elizabeth has a lifelong love of books. She has always appreciated nonfiction, especially about history, politics, and ideas. A switch to audio books has kindled her enjoyment of well-narrated fiction, particularly Victorian and early 20th-century works. As a former intelligence analyst and a teacher of critical thinking skills, Elizabeth enjoys analyzing arguments on all sides of an issue. Her nonfiction preferences include theology, science, and philosophy. She studies the intersection of these three in pursuit of the highest truths. Elizabeth has a blog and is writing a creative nonfiction book about the beginning and the end of suffering.

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