Faith in science

Peter Kearney (“Science and religion can be compatible”, Friends of The Scotsman, 13 February) made for painful reading.
Firstly, Mr Kearney derides the work of Prof Peter Higgs in postulating and discovering the Higgs boson, by claiming that it was quickly dubbed the “God particle”.

That phrase was coined by Leon Lederman for his book The God Particle: If The Universe Is The Answer, What Is The Question?, and it is a title Prof Higgs and many other physicists intensely dislike.

Secondly, the search for the Higgs boson was not a search to disprove the existence of any deity. Contrary to what Mr Kearney thinks, there is no great conspiracy by science to create a “workaround” to “explain the inexplicable”, or to destroy faith or disprove God.

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It is, frankly, not the job of science to do that. Nor is it the job of science to be the “universal panacea to all our doubts and questions”. 

It is admitted we do not know everything. But then, contrary to what Mr Kearney may think, neither does religion.

Thirdly, he states that the Big Bang Theory is “simply a theory, an effort to explain how something might have come from nothing”? A scientific theory is not guesswork. It is rather an ­accepted, working model, ­proven by research.

Far from religion being compatible with science, Mr Kearney’s article reads as an attack on science, and an attempt to claim that faith alone can answer the inexplicable. It is science which has progressed mankind, while religion has only ever held us back.

Leslie John Thomson

Moredunvale Green


Peter Kearney is correct that science and religion are not necessarily in conflict and time may prove this to us.

However, he is a little unfair to Prof Peter Higgs, who has been at pains to disassociate himself from the term “God particle” and who, though not a believer himself, sees no necessary conflict between religious and scientific world-views .

Indeed, anything I have read from Prof Higgs suggests a tolerant outlook, quite in contrast to the intolerance of some of Scotland’s noisy secular activists.

Gus Logan

York Road

North Berwick, East Lothian