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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Parsing the Meaning of "Belief"

"We can start with the phrase "believe in evolution" .... Using the same word to describe faith in God and support for a scientific theory strikes me as foolish and pernicious. It's bad for both science and faith, creating a false dichotomy between the two positions—one which serves nobody but a small group of culture warriors dedicated to making our public culture as stupid and ugly as possible," Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, president of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, writes on his "On Faith" blog.
"How can one use identical language to describe the decision to follow a particular spiritual path which is necessarily beyond scientific testing, and the decision to rely on a theory which is the product of such ongoing testing? We may use the same word, but are they really the same kind of belief?"