In a letter to the editor (The NEWS,March 17) it was stated that Canada was a Christian nation. Canada is a democracy, and all forms of religion, including both atheism and agnosticism, can be freely practised here.
There are more than a dozen forms of Christian religion recognized in Canada. They include the Red Cross, which is known for providing aid to victims of natural or man-made disaster. Most groups have their own rites and dogmas, but all believe in a Creator with whom mankind has some type of relationship.
Science is based on facts and on occasions these contradict points of dogma. If the facts are sufficiently persuasive it is the dogma which has to change. For example, during the Middle Ages you could be burned alive for questioning any part of the Bible. Recently, the Pope indicated that the Catholic Church may be prepared to accept scientific explanations of both homosexuality and evolution.
There are two ongoing science studies which may bear on religious dogmas. The fossil record shows that evolution is a fact, but does not explain how life began. The indications are that the earliest life consisted of simple single-celled animals, and these are not preserved as fossils. Scientists already have data to show that these animals could have formed naturally, and in the near future may be able to produce synthetic forms of life.
Recent astronomical observations have determined that many stars have planets, and that at least some have Earth-like orbits and significant amounts of water. It follows that life probably developed quite widely in the universe.
There is a saying that “there are no atheists in fox-holes.” Scientists tend to feel the same way when they consider the awesome complexity of the Earth and of space. Science can generally analyze the “how” but never the “why” of natural phenomena. Such questions involve faith, and are best left to religions.
Jim DrummondQualicum Beach