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Science and religion are two windows that people look through, trying to understand the big universe outside, trying to understand why we are here. The two windows give different views, but both look out at the same universe. Both views are one-sided, neither is complete. Both leave out essential features of the real world. And both are worthy of respect. — Freeman Dyson, physics professor emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, in a speech accepting the 2000 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion

In this session participants explore our fifth Source, which "counsels us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science." In children's language, reason means we listen to what others say, pay attention to what we ourselves see, hear, and feel, and try to figure out what is true. The story "Dinosaur Bones in New Jersey" shows how the use of reason and science led to the knowledge that the earth is older than the Bible implies, and human life much newer. Participants explore reason and science as means to answer one of the ultimate religious questions, "How did we get here?" In Activity 1, Facts, Theories, and Beliefs, participants practice discerning the difference between what can be proved true in the world and what is believed to be true. In Activity 3, Taxonomy, participants classify objects based on their commonalities. Alternate Activity 4, Who Gets Eaten? introduces the theory of natural selection in an active way. All the activities engage discovery through reasoning.


This session will:

  • Explore the fifth Source of Unitarian Universalism, "Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit"
  • Strengthen a love of learning and discovery as part of our Unitarian Universalist identity.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Identify the fifth Source of Unitarian Universalism
  • Practice using reason to find answers
  • Explore how science helps us research and understand our world
  • Consider the theory of evolution and how it relates to facts and beliefs.

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