[The Leaven – an investigation into the relationship between science and religion (cont)… ]
Studying the dynamics of living cells with molecular techniques is a journey fuelled by curiosity but it also requires collaboration between scientists as the techniques themselves are created through scientific investigation. Although a truth in science is normally supported by physical evidence scientists still require some elements of faith, as they rely a great deal on evidence provided by others. Once research has been published it is rarely replicated by another scientist unless it is necesary to do so in order to discover further truths. [nb. I need to provide some examples here].
Through studying the molecular processes of yeast it becomes apparent that this simple organism has contributed enormously to the development of civilisation. It is also apparent that science is an ultra organised entity, arranged into a number of categories and subcategories, preoccupied in what is a global effort to discover the ultimate in scientific truth.
The Biblical text provides a valuable resource of information on the historical route that yeast has taken to finally arrive in the hallowed halls of molecular biology. In fact, science and religion seem to have both emerged through the need to address similar uncertainties, they have co-evolved in a search for truths. The purpose of this book (the Leaven) is not to condemn or favour views held in religion or science but to bring these doctrines together in order to analyse the way in which society deals with uncertainties. Uncertainties that possibly arise from lack of knowledge or evidence.
By investigating how yeast, as leaven, was interpreted in the Bible there is a surprising insight into how past societies dealt with fear and uncertainty. The biological processes behind leaven were not understood and it was frequently associated with adverse events (perhaps because of contamination) it was therefore often used to symbolise corruption or evil. There are parallels to how uncertainty was viewed by society in the biblical era with views towards science and molecular biology today and, in some instances, there may be a legitimate argument for this comparison.