merging science and spirituality
On Sunday mornings I awake to the melodic, crystal clear voice of Krista Tippett from Speaking of Faith. I’m a huge fan of Krista Tippett. Not only do I enjoy how just saying her name tickles the tongue, but I love the diverse characters she brings on her show to discuss complex faith issues in our day-to-day world. Krista tackles spirituality of all shapes and sizes with elegance and grace. She shows interest and respect for all of her guests but still slings delicate, challenging, intelligent questions and shows confidence in her own faith. Basically, I want her job–if only I could have her voice and her name.
Enough about me and Krista.
Last weekend I listened to a fascinating interview with Doris Taylor, a stem cell researcher from the University of Minnesota who explores how stem cells of all kinds (not just embryonic) regenerate tissues and organs. Dr. Taylor clearly believes in the awe of God’s creation. I won’t review all the details here–you can listen or read the website to draw your own conclusions– but I was enthralled by the conversation blending science and spirituality. Dr. Taylor discussed how modern science isn’t just discovering “does that work?” but instead, appreciating its beautiful complexity and exploring, ”HOW does that work?”
Dr. Taylor: I always go back to a very simple account that we used to chew willow bark hundreds of years ago for pain, right? And we had no idea that it was really — that it contained the same thing that is in aspirin today. But our grandmothers knew and our grandmothers’ mothers knew and it’s the same sort of thing. There are so many ways that we know we can heal ourselves and there’s a body of knowledge out there about that. And we’re really just discovering details. How does that work? . . . Not “Does that work?” but “How does that work?”
Ms. Tippett: But it’s a great combination you’re talking about, of applying the best of your knowledge, speaking your dreams and questions, and also relying on common sense and your intuition.
Certain herbs and remedies ease pain and improve health. Stress creates problems–socially, psychologically and physically. Faith, social connection, prayer or meditation do make a difference in mental and physical well being. We’re just figuring out how it works–the details–so we can make it more effective.
I really appreciated Krista Tippett’s response. Dr. Taylor acknowledged the unchartered territory her research is approaching, and discussed at length the need to “drive carefully” along the way.
I hope we continue to drive carefully as we utilize the gifts and tools granted to us– science, spirit, intiuition, and common sense– and not undermine the process by arguing the extremes.
I believe God would want it that way.
What do you think?