Resolving Questions About God and the Sciences

BY BRUCE J. SIWY  Published 19 May 2013 Somerset Daily American

Somerset Daily American
Somerset Daily American

“It isn’t the typical water cooler chat: discussion of evolution, Christian creationism and other existential quandaries. Local chaplain Dane Cramer and Somerset Area High School chemistry teacher Scott Dunlap sat down this week to hash out the differences — and some surprising similarities — in the principles of old-time religion and cold hard science. The video discussion is available online at It was moderated by Daily American editor Brian Whipkey.

“It’s an expansion of the discussion we had over Easter with Dane Cramer,” Whipkey said, referencing another Daily American video about the impact of religion in society. “We thought it was a good opportunity to bring in a local high school chemistry teacher and a local chaplain to explain the differences and what is similar (in religion and science). It’s interesting conversation for people to hear.” Cramer — a former Confluence pastor who recently performed missionary work in Kenya and Haiti, and serves as chaplain at the Somerset County Jail — said he is OK with the Big Bang theory because it doesn’t rule out the notion that a higher being set everything in motion.

“I believe that the origins of this world can be traced back to God,” he said. “The fact that there are objective moral values that we can sense, that we’re aware of . . . God gives us that.”

Dunlap, who has his bachelor’s degree from Penn State University and the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, noted that religion and science do not necessarily contradict each other. “Science is an experimental field,” he said. “Religion is the opposite of that.” According to Dunlap, religion is about faith in the unprovable, while science is willing to leave things unexplained if there is no data to analyze. “We’re willing to say, ‘We don’t know.’”

Cramer said he sees too many holes in the theory that humans evolved from apes. Dunlap agreed that the evidence is not completely overwhelming, but added that even evolution does not rule out the existence of God. “I think that scientists are some of the biggest believers,” he said. When asked what causes basic things like the blossoming of flowers, Dunlap laughed: “It’s all chemistry.”



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