05/04/2009 - Some of the nation’s leading journalists gathered in Key West, Fla., in May 2009 for the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life’s Faith Angle Conference on religion, politics and public life.
Francis S. Collins, the former director of the Human Genome Project, discussed why he believes religion and science are compatible and why the current conflict over evolution vs. faith, particularly in the evangelical community, is unnecessary. Collins, an evangelical Christian, talked about his path from atheism to Christianity and his belief that science provides evidence of God. He cited the Big Bang theory and the fact that the universe had a beginning out of nothing. He added that the laws of physics have precisely the values needed for life to occur on earth and argued that would seem to point to a creator.
Barbara Bradley Hagerty, the religion correspondent for National Public Radio, discussed how the brain reacts to spiritual experiences. She talked about the current debate over whether transcendent experiences are merely physiological events or whether they reflect encounters with another dimension. Bradley Hagerty said she believes that “God is a choice,” that people can look at scientific evidence and conclude that everything is explained by material means or that they can look at the universe and see the hand of God.
Francis S. Collins, Former Director, National Human Genome Research Institute
Barbara Bradley Hagerty, Religion Correspondent, National Public Radio
Michael Cromartie, Vice President, Ethics and Public Policy Center; Senior Adviser, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life
Read the full transcript Religion and Science: Conflict or Harmony? on the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life’s Web site.