Refutation? Denied

May 27, 2010

We read that Francisco Ayala "refutes the idea that there is any contradiction between science and religion" (The Week in Higher Education, 13 May). I think you'll find that he denies, not refutes, via such well-known methods as claiming that any aspect of religious doctrine that turns out to be embarrassingly false - for example, that a god made the world a few thousand years ago - must be a metaphor.

Refutation is disproof via reason and evidence. In a world where many religious people in the US, for example, believe that human beings are not the product of biological evolution, it is impossible to "refute" the idea of a contradiction between science and religion, because the contradiction is visible.

Stephen Wells, Department of physics, University of Warwick.

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