Are Religion and Science like Oil and Water?

Jan 22, 2015

When Troy Van Voorhis became a chemistry professor at MIT, he started getting questions from his students: Did science eliminate the need for religion? Did you have to be an atheist to be a good scientist?

His answer was an emphatic no.

"Faith doesn't day to day affect the way we do science but it does affect the way we direct science. You could argue that one of the reasons we spend so much time scientifically investigating things like human health is because we have a value on reducing human pain and extending human lifetime and alleviating human suffering. And for a lot of people the motivation for doing that comes from faith."

Van Voorhis has dedicated himself to dispelling the myth that religion and science can't coexist. He's giving a talk at Iowa State University next Monday at 6:00 pm in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union titled "Certainty: Is Science All You Need?"

In this hour of River to River, host Ben Kieffer speaks with Van Voorhis about how religion and science intersect.