Islam and Science Interfaith Dialogue

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Event Name: Islam and Science Interfaith Dialogue
Transcription Date:Transcription Modified Date: 5/18/2019
Transcript Version: 1

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throw that all of various topics for our

entire life with

it said Nadia program that I believe

that each speaker should give a five an

intro on their religious background and

designs i'm only looking to include that

within responses first question my own

background i was born in with typical

american jewish family typical in the

sense that it was not all religious and

became religious about each dog ages 20

approximately i myself had driven strong

scientific fashion event in the hard

sciences math and physics to be specific

so when i first got involved in fourth

of X Judaism one of the main points of

contention that has yielded was the

integration of science with traditional

Judaism which at first glance does

indeed have an enormous amount of

Congress it's the first obvious case of

conflict in this situation is that in

the holy book of the Jews which is known

as the Torah or the Bible which is

essentially zbook that the Jewish

people call it with boxes given to the

Jewish people as they were cameras

around Mount Sinai approximately 3,300

years ago the Jewish Jewish inhabitant

was given to the Jewish people by God by

the creator of the universe and then

every where all of you arms and all des

multi-level of meetings that are

contained within there are God's message

to the Jewish people so the problems of

that presents with the message that God

gave through people who win in light of

modern science if there are conflicts

what are you supposed to do about them

so a particularly strong example of what

Michael here's the conflict is in the

opening lines of the Torah is described

how the world people universe was

created in six days and of course on the

seventh day God met and according to

Jewish tradition is the man simply

release the culmination of this event

took place approximately fifty seven

hundred and fifty-four thousand years

ago so this is event an obvious problem

to anybody close the least amount of New

Year in this modern science that in that

look they're saying the world is fifteen

billion years older or whatever the

numbers are means a pendulum fifty blame

something like that so there's an

obvious problem right off the back which

was a properly I was extremely aware on

the other hand some people see this as

an example of compatibility between

science and Judaism in the sense that

the way that many Jews interpret some of

these lines in the Torah is that they're

not meant to be interpreted in their

strict literal sense creditors

interprets as containing some sort of

our lines of what the idea is but then

the deeper message hidden within it and

so this particular case recipe

the six days of creation as it's known

in the Torah framework what I was to do

about that so in general the way people

were depicted some sort of problem

compatibility in science of judges and

what they could say is the world radiant

of either is simply in six states and

he's excited that represented by from

six days of creation the culmination of

these mixed ages was the whole month of

creation maybe the creation of human

beings and the first human being was

created for what the system edition of

having a human soul which city which

that will human being could interact

with God that immense a place 5757 here

today so input in line that regard it's

not all that far off way mark I'm like

looking namely the human beings as as as

the civilized woman to know them to be

took place approximately 6,000 years ago

and the reason the universe took place

in the period of six stages though and

in time series 46 pages are they wasn't

billions of years our businesses

whatever it might have been does anybody

have the Torah vine large is not used as

a cycle it's not going to be a textbook

that will teach a person kind of new

biology or hazard physics or mathematics

or whatever whether or not someone to

leave anything of designers from the

charge of another ball but it's not many

defense and therefore when it comes to

baby questions such as the age of the

universe and having it from about basic

scientific questions the tour is not

going to place where one we looked at it

since determined focused on a completely

different idea focusing on what is the

purpose of our radius was the purpose

are sincere how are you

learn to relate to God how client might

disappear society is also a means of

what God interacted with the earth God

runs in the world through science

through nature and that is another way

that God please do the Torah is

essentially telling them that the waves

God has given them instructions in terms

of our strategies with our fellow human

beings our interactions of the world our

interactions God in some way or another

these interactions also have to comply

with the rules of science and that in

some wherever they don't fit in real

life well then something has to give

something just won't work so as far as

the general question of compatibility

most people do not have probable

compatibility of de toros with science

because the two are looked at it as

almost like two things that are sort of

found each other by and not necessarily

each other head on so so the conflicts

that might appear to be there can always

be sort of worked out as far as science

mentioned in the Torah itself by and

large there is no position to the Torah

other than the description of creation

as derivatives that are described the

only thing that would remotely remember

local temple science is in certain

disease that laser somewhat significant

role in tourism a disease which appears

to example through the visa tony has

leprosy and the only difference is

whether it is a biological release due

to I even know what I'm do some sort of

affection boxes everywhere since loved

easily do too but the disease mentioned

in the Torah which starred questions in

view not as a biological disease


the experience mainly due to experience

defects of character the disease will

affect them physically in general

distance away that Torah Torah Judaism

meets science where science and

describing the physical universe that's

where tourists start describing the

spiritual universe and the jeweler met

complement each other okay but my name

is father Jim Reese I am a Jesuit priest

a professor here at Santa Clara

University i've been here since 1975 and

i teach courses generally around the

area of the christian origin and the

history of christian spirituality um so

I'm a bit different than my colleagues

here today and that I don't have a a

church where I am served as pastor

associate I'm all right I do go out

regularly to churches and a fifth in the

local community particularly the parish

of the Queen of Angels in cupertino and

then also I have the privilege of

presiding at liturgy pier at Santa Clara

University in the mission church but my

primary work is study and teaching

before I begin and address the questions

I'd like to really thank the Muslim

Students Association for organizing

arranging these opportunities for us to

get together I think that it is a

wonderful thing that they do and it

allows us as well to come to a better

understanding of each other and to share

that with all of me tiesto great

gratitude to the Muslim students here at

Santa Clara I would agree with many

things that what I might have said when

I look particularly at the second

question is any science mentioned in

your holy book or tradition well it all

depends with

what we mean by science there was a time

in Christianity of course when we would

say yes there is science fairs champion

in the Roman tradition the Latin

tradition which simply means knowledge

what kind of knowledge is there is there

understanding but that term science has

really come to be understood in a very

particular way today and in the agreeing

with Rabbi Meir in a way that is

understood today there is nothing about

science in survival either in the Hebrew

Scriptures which of course are a part of

our holy book as well as the Christian

scriptures science I think as we see it

is really a defined set of methods and

these methods are either hypothetically

deductive meaning that they attempt to

understand the natural processes of

physical the biological the chemical and

cosmological universe or the science can

also use historical methods and near the

attempt to understand biological

chemical geological and cosmological

history of the earth and ultimately of

the universe so in this sense the Bible

doesn't try to use these kinds of

hypothetical or strictly scientific

historical method the science of the

Bible as our tradition as rabbi said

really tells us about God and God's

relationship to the world and the

universe it answers in a way a much more

important question to us ultimately

about our life who are we how are we

with God who are we with each other in

life of our relationship to God and God

is our Creator God creates the world as


we can then find God in this good world

by paying attention to it taking it

seriously studying it and and by doing

so we will come to understand the

goodness of this world created by God

and that will point us towards goodness

Excel since we've got in the Catholic

tradition of the time apart we speak of

this as the principle of sacrament

allergy that means that everything that

is is in some way a visible sign and

also a bearer of God's presence and

action in the world and so paying

attention to that studying that can

bring us closer to the god with presence

and to the God who is active in a sense

then there's no strictly secular science

science itself can be a means of

understanding who got it and how God

acts with regard to the interpretation

of the scripture it has been you know

Christians have found themselves all

over the place in that throughout the

centuries at time there was a conflict

between science and religion and for

some denominations of Christianity today

there continues to be a sort of conflict

between the two but in the the Catholic

tradition certainly we do not be a

conflict between the two because one

tells us about the much more important

ultimate questions of our relationship

of God and the other helps us understand

the physical universe the cultivation

not on working in the name of God the

merciful the compassionate their

witnesses there's no god but allah and

muhammad sallallahu Senator's office and

I I think it's very tempting being the

3rd after 2 to kind of look at some of

the things that were said before me but

I'm going to attempt to resist that

temptation just part of religion right

resisting temptation i think i would say

initially what otherwise said about the

idea of defining science modern science

as it's being practiced in the west and

really now all over the world I think

it's deep being compatible with the

Islamic teaching and i would say that

because of the results that it produces

in other words from a muslim perspective

there are certain limits and boundaries

which are very clearly defined in the

pond about human behavior and the idea

of transgressing those boundaries is

considered a transgression against God

and against God's order in terms of is

is long and compatible with science if

we define science as truth then

absolutely not it would have to be in

harmony the science because the Muslim

beliefs is that it's almost from the

truth in fact one of the names of God is

on how which means the truth and

therefore what comes from God must be

true and also given that God has made a

rational creatures and creatures that

use the intellect what God has told us

about God and about God's creation must

be understood through the intellect if

the intellect cannot understand it then

this would be unfair on God's part to

give us an intellect and then to give us

things deeply in congruence with the


standing and force us to believe those

things going against what our own

intellect tell us is true now here you

move into another problem which is what

if the intellect is not capable of

discerning the truth because we are

deeply self delusional creatures human

beings can delude themselves to believe

the most incredible thing to give an

example somebody once took a after log

astrological chart of a murder a

murderer in in France and it was saying

what a wonderful person you're

intelligent you're clever you're witty

you're deeply compassionate towards

other human beings and this man had

killed like about 50 people and he sent

it to several different people put an ad

in the newspaper and said free horoscope

sent to this address and he got letters

back telling people that they had to

believe in astronomy astrology before

that but when they got this thing they

said it's so fitted their personality

that that it must be true so the point

being is that we can do it ourselves

into believing many many things so then

what then is the criterion for belief

now from the Muslim perspective I think

we need to divide science into two basic

areas and one would be what would be a

formal system and a formal system of

science deals with proofs and it deals

with axioms and proof so you have an

acronym and then you prove something

based on your AG names like geometry

would be a good example of a formal

system now the nature of formal

scientific systems is they don't deal

with content in other words geometry

will never tell you why something why a

point is that which has no depth or

breasts or why a circle is equidistant

and whatever the scientific definition

that geometry gives us it will not tell

us why so it does not go into what what

would return the structural system which

begins to look at content and to explain

content from a Muslim perspective

Muslims are notorious historically for

accepting formal system geometry

astronomy our panel systems that measure

things many of the Muslims were great

great astronomers and how r is me one of

the greatest mathematicians that ever

lived develop the logarithm which is

actually local rhythm is from his name

at holidays me which in Latin was and

logarithms that's how it was interested

we know almost I am the famous who's

known in the West verse poetry he's not

known in east for his poetry known in

the east for his mathematical

computation he developed a very precise

and exact calendar so the point is is

that within formal systems the Muslims

have never had a problem whether where

they have a problem is when you move

into structural system which is

explaining content and no longer

describing form because science can

either describe something it can prove

something or it can explain something

when it describes something it's simply

descriptive science anatomy physiology

you can just describe the anatomy of a

liver when you move into a system which

then begins to explain the function of a

liberal of the purpose of a liver you

can have a hypotheses and the hypothesis

might be valour it might be invalid

depending on the data that's collected

in all of these things so from the

Muslim perspective when you begin to

explain things in which you have really

no arena or no no really grounding in

that explanation then the Muslims would

say no you have transgressed your

boundaries you are not allowed to

venture into this area and certainly for

instance in the in the modern world

what's happening now with genetic

altering that's going on we've just if

if the report is true and we always have

to wait and see you exactly what's

happened but if the report is true that

in Scotland they have cloned a sheep

well from the Muslim point of view this

is the transgression it's a gross

transgression from the Western

scientific point of view it is not it is


another step in the progress of mankind

that we have moved another step closer