Bertolt Brecht’s “Galileo” and that deeply misleading staple of high school English courses, “Inherit the Wind,” have thoroughly confused our understanding of the relationship between biblical faith and the emergence of modern science. To clear the cobwebs, ask yourself a question: Why did the scientific method, which assumes that the natural world is rationally knowable, arise in the West, and not elsewhere? Other cultures had made important advances in mathematics and technology, but it was the West that invented the scientific method. Why?
I suggest it was because the West is the civilizational product of the fruitful interaction of Athens, Jerusalem, and Rome: Greek reason, biblical faith, and Roman law. The first two are of particular importance for our question. A culture convinced that God made the world through his “Reason,” his “Word” (or “Logos”), is a culture that knows the world to be knowable; that intuits a divine mandate to understand what God has wrought; and that can devise methods for getting at the truth of things in the natural order. That is what Copernicus and Galileo, both believing Catholics, did — they tried to get at the truth of things, which they believed God had written into the created order. The human task was to figure out the code, so to speak.
So an alliance-for-humanity between science and biblical religion is in fact a matter of re-connecting a parent and its child, not of introducing two utterly different species to each other. Whether E.O. Wilson’s kind of alliance is the kind needed is another question. But that there is no inherent conflict between the truths revealed by science and the truths about creation and his intentions in creating revealed by the God of the Bible is the simple fact of the matter.
No matter how much some scientists and some believers may deny it.