During the 2008 GOP primaries, in one of the debates, Jim VandeHei asked Senator John McCain if he believed in evolution. The Senator paused for a moment before answering. While no man knows the heart or mind of another with certainty, I think it is safe to venture the guess that in the moment of hesitation, Sen. McCain was entertaining a political doubt, not a scientific one. Finally, he answered, “Yes.”
The correct answer, of course, would have been to point out that the question is a flawed one. One does not “believe” scientific theory, one demonstrates it. That is the point. Yet, the debate between those committed to science and religion often suffers from such confusion. Thankfully, there is an antidote at hand.
Next Monday night, here in Washington at the Sidney Harman theater, NPR’s Michel Martin will host a conversation with Krista Tippett, the host of “Speaking of Faith.” Tippitt will be discussing the relationship of faith and science as seen through the lens of her new book “Einstein’s God.” I do not know Tippett but I have been a guest several times on Michel Martin’s “Tell Me More.” She is a great interviewer because she actually listens to the person she is interviewing instead of pushing her own agenda like too many radio hosts do. Also, she knows a hell of a lot about a hell of a lot, which is also an indispensible quality in a good interviewer.
I am going and if you are in the DC area Monday you should go too. More information is here.