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Raymo Reconciles Science vs. Faith

"I'm not really very good at answers," says Dr. Chet Raymo, a writer, teacher and naturalist who for 40 years has been exploring the relationship between science and nature. "I like questions much more than I like answers. Every time I give an answer, I feel like I am closing a door in my own mind."

Dr. Chet Raymo, reading from his book "Climbing Brandon."

On November 30, Raymo spoke to a Berea College audience about his personal approach to "a very contemporary, very contentious topic": the conflict between science and faith.

"Science is beginning to touch on topics that had previously been associated ... with religion," said Raymo. He explained that science is addressing such age-old questions as the origin of life and the existence of the human soul, and that the reconciliation of science with religion is becoming increasingly important in today's times.

Raymo shared his own story of reconciliation with the audience, explaining how he had used science and "reliable knowledge of the world" as a foundation and built his religious faith around that knowledge. He used "the writer's craft" to take a pilgrimage and explore the different interactions between science and faith.

Science and faith have long been important topics to Raymo. For four decades, he has explored these topics through his writing, and in addition to his 20 years as a columnist for the Boston Globe, Raymo has published more than a dozen award-winning books on science and nature.

"What writing does is make connections," Raymo explained. He read to the audience from his book "Climbing Brandon: Science and Faith on Ireland's Holy Mountain," in which he used his experiences from living in Ireland to draw together the "threads" of Christianity, Celtic nature worship and natural surroundings as well as non-mystical, scientific explanations for the world.

Raymo emphasized that he was only trying to provoke thought through the tale of his personal pilgrimage, and did not wish to tell people how to achieve their own reconciliation.

Chet Raymo holds bachelor's degree and doctorate from the University of Notre Dame and master's degree from the University of California, and is professor emeritus of physics and astronomy at Stonehill College. Currently his Science Musings column is published weekly on his Web site, www.sciencemusings.com.

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