• Question: Does believing/Not believing in god affect the way you feel about some sources of reasearch ?

    Asked by pinkyypinkssz to Alastair, Hywel, Keith on 24 Jun 2010 in Categories: .
    • Photo: Keith Brain

      Keith Brain answered on 24 Jun 2010:

      I think that it really depends on your religion. Believing in a god doesn’t change very much about the way science is done, but believing in particular faith (a set of religious and moral beliefs) does. Many of our laws, including those regulating scientific research, are based around religious beliefs – and I think that these are good. For example, there are bans on some times of research involving human embryos: for example, its illegal to genetically manipulate a human embryo and allow it to grow into a person. I think that it is right to have such a ban, but the reasons don’t have very much to do with science – it is about the concept of the sanctity of human life.

      Organized religions used to be very tough on scientific research – a famous example is the work of Galileo. Through his studies in astronomy (and used the experimental results of others) he argued that the earth and other planets rotated around the sun, rather than everything else rotating around the earth. The church didn’t like this, he was found guilty of heresy (17th century), and was forced to “recant” (say that he was sorry for what he had done, and that he had changed his mind). I think that it is right that most religions don’t do this any more. However, I do think that the religions have a right to state their moral position on scientific questions.

      You can find out more about Galileo Galilei at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_Galilei

    • Photo: Alastair Sloan

      Alastair Sloan answered on 24 Jun 2010:

      Morning Pinky

      No it doesn’t. I do have a Faith, but my scientific research sits alongside that perfectly – if we were not supposed to understand the universe then we would’nt have developed the skills to research it in the first place. The one thing that does ALWAYS affect how I feel about some parts of my research and of others research is the ethical and moral question. Just because we can do something does not always mean we should do something. You have to alwayas ask the questions Who is my work going to help and why? and Will everybody benefit from my work.

    • Photo: Hywel Vaughan

      Hywel Vaughan answered on 24 Jun 2010:

      Good question pinkyypinkssz,
      The answer is no – in the line of work I do, good research that really effects the design is quite hard to come by. This means that when someone comes to you with information that could be useful, you have to base your feelings on the research itself and how reliable it is… the religion of the person who is providing it doesn’t matter to me. 🙂