Sadly, the impression is often given that religion and science stand opposed to each other. And many people, especially US christian fundamentalists (ahem, Sarah Palin), believe this and perpetuate this believe. But I grew up in a synagogue where this is absolutely untrue. To me, the opposition of science and religion is outdated and false. I was reminded of this again on Wednesday evening when I was home at the synagogue I grew up in listening to the Kol Nidre sermon. The rabbi was discussing understanding how all people are connected to each other and understanding our place in the world. In an effort to demonstrate the almost literal way she meant this, she pointed out that we are all made of atoms that are billions of years old.
Religion need not stand opposed to science. Science can enhance religious understanding. If we must have leadership that wears religion on its sleeve, I believe we deserve leadership that understands this. Leadership that understands that global warming is definitely happening, and is man made (Sarah Palin seemed unsure at the debate). Leadership that understands that oil is a limited resource (and that "drill, baby, drill" is therefore not a useful slogan). Leadership that is interested in funding science and understanding science and not in enforcing intelligent design beliefs. The representation of science by our government for the past eight years has been offensive and confused. Their manipulation of scientific reports by the EPA and other government agencies goes against all scientific and governmental principles. For some sense of what McCain and Obama administrations might do for the sciences, see their science agendas. The world deserves leaders that understand how old it is.