A panel discussion on "Science and/vs Religion" at SMU


On Jan 31st, 2013, Institute of Interfaith Dialogue organized a panel discussion at SMU titled "Science and/vs Religion". The event attracted great attention at SMU and the local community. Three distinguished speakers shared their opinions from three different religious perspectives.

Dr. Robert Hunt provided a historical perspective on the relationship between science and religion, and also shared his view on the socio-political roots in the seeming tension between them. Sharing his insights from the Christian perspective, Dr Hunt underlined the view that "if we understand God's words rightfully, there should be no conflict between science and religion".

Dr. Heidi Coretz provided her views from the perspective of Judaism. She first highlighted the view that science and religion work hand in hand, and depend on one another. For science to function fully, she mentioned, it will need to depend on religion at certain points, and vice versa. She cited the example of organ donation where religious exercise could be functioned only by consulting to scientists. Overall, she stressed the need for religion to influence science to make the world a better living place.

Dr. Hasan Toprak argued that there is no conflict between religious and scientific knowledge, as according to Islam, the universe is the created book of Allah, and the Kur'an is the revealed one like a manual of this world order. "Since a conflict between a manual and a device is contrary to reason, there is an inherent harmony between science and religion" he said. Dr Toprak also mentioned that every science is built on one name of Allah, such as in the case of "Ash-Shafi" or "the Healer", which is associated with the study of medicine. Therefore religious and scientific knowledge are complementary, rather than in conflict. Attendees' question and answer session followed with refreshments ended the panel.