Marshall Agnew (02/18/04)
I think the conversation we had today about religion and science and what one has to do with the other is probably the most challenging and complicated issue we will face this semester. There are always so many different perspectives that are hard for all of us to understand when the issue of religion arises. People also get more emotional than usual when talking about religion.
The issue of human specialness was discussed heavily in today's class. A lot of people seem to think that people are superior to the rest of nature in some way. I tend to agree with what Kate said about the idea of human specialness; I don't really think people are very special. We are unique on our planet because we have a very strange and different set of survival skill, but I don't think that we are superior.
I think its interesting that we talked so much about the implications would be to us of meeting another intelligent civilization. Even though this possibility is so incredibly small, it still occupies most of our thoughts about exploration because it would affect us so profoundly. The possibility of finding microbial life on other planets is much higher than meeting other intelligent beings, but we still focus on the possibility of finding civilizations because, unlike microbes, it would be an earth-shattering event that would reach everyone. Though microbes would be exciting, they would definitely not affect people as much.I think the conversation about how religions adapt to advances in science was interesting. Obviously, religion has gotten better at dealing with science since Galileo's time, but I think it'll be interesting to see if science and religion can exist in even greater harmony in the coming years.