I have just finished a book by Carl Zimmer, “The Soul Made Flesh”. It takes place in 1600’s England. The central character is Thomas Willis, a pious Christian who nonetheless took part in the revolution in the medical science, which shifted the focus of control of the human body from the heart to the brain. Willis believed in the material soul. His research clearly showed that the heart was just a pump and it was the brain that controlled the functions of our body.
Wills saw the hand of God in all his experiments. He could reconcile what he saw with his religious beliefs, although he also feared being seen as a heretic by the church and was very careful about what he published.
In reading the news we can see that today many can’t reconcile these two systems, religion and science. In the few polls I have seen on this issue something like 90% of scientist don’t believe in God. There are religious leaders who have tried to keep the scientific theory of evolution from being taught in our schools. They are trying to have their theories of Intelligent Design and Creationism, which have not passed the scientific peer review process, taught in science class.
I don’t believe in God but, like Willis, I don’t see that science and religion need to be incompatible.