Since my Sunday newspaper column is, once again, on a local matter, I offer instead the above thoughts on the compatibility, or lack thereof, between science and religion. Seems a decent Sunday topic.
I've puzzled many times over the fact that some people I know, doctors of very high caliber (by some definition, scientists), are deeply religious. So it's not exactly true that the two are in all ways incompatible in vivo; observation tells us otherwise. It's just that, in order to be both a scientist (meaning anyone who understands and accepts the scientific method, and one who considers her/himself a realist who prefers to base beliefs and actions on demonstrable fact) and a standard-issue religionist, one has to create certain lacunae of thought, entry into which is self-prohibited.
For those who need it, it seems to work. But it's not really compatibility at work: it's compartmentalization. Like potassium and water: they're fine together, long as you put the potassium in a water-tight box.