National Geographic : 1998 Mar
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC From the Editor WI1ENEVER WE FEATURE all article concerning scientific evidence of evolution, I can be certain of two things: The story will represent the latest physical evidence presented by leading scientists in the study of early life-and my office will be deluged with letters from readers Who reject evolutionary theory. Most of the critics object as a matter of scriptural principle; others say they have scientific evidence that calls evolution into question. 4W, . This month s story about the origins of life will only add to that debate. Faith and science have at least one thing ill (Oi11n1on: Both arey ,it lifelong searches for truth. But while faith is an unshakable belief in the unseen, science is the study of testable, observable phenomena. The two coexist, and may at times coal- 1980 ANGLO AUSTRALIAN element each other. But neither should be asked TELESCOPEBOARD DAVIDMALIN to validate or invalidate the other. Scientists have no more business questioning the existence of God than theologians had telling Galileo the Earth was at the center of the universe. NArioNAL. GF.oGRAI'll w's respect for faith, the core beliefs that stir billions of people around the world, is reflected in recent articles on Jerusalem, the Vatican, Palestinians, Galilee, Buddhist caves, and Native American powwows. Society President Alexander Graham Bell's vision of geography as "the world and all that is in it" echoes a line from Psalm 89. Science is in a perpetual state of becoming. Yesterday's observations give rise to today's theories, which will be tested through painstaking research. Just as any good scientist must be ready to abandon a bad idea, he or she Illust stand by the results of unbiased empirical evi dence and experimentation. The current studies of how life arose, most scientists believe, stand up to that scrutiny.