Meet Dr. Allen Utke of the Department of Chemistry at University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, who studies atoms. Part 2/4.
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The Mysteries of Matter Part 2/4 Male: Over the ages, individuals and societies have turned to science and religion for answers to life’s biggest concerns. In recent times, that is often then embracing one while rejecting the other, but what if professor Utke asks, what could unite both? Dr. Allen: Because science and religion are the two most powerful influences in human thinking and history and because they have split in over the last 400 years or so in most people’s minds that there’s a real need to get them back together. And I think there are some real benefits involved in getting them back together. I think one of them is in answering the question of what is it all about, I think that’s a question that every single individual regardless of their background eventually asks in their life, what is it all about? And I think you need both science and religion to answer that question. Beyond that, I think that when you put those two ideas together and those answers together, you also have I think a more complete picture of God if you believe in God. If God created reality, how did God do that? And I think if you can begin to see the answer to that question of how God did that, you have a more complete picture of God, at least to more complete picture of one aspect of God, God’s creativity. Male: We live in a technological age. The world depends on science and technology to feed and shelter itself for healing and entertainment, business and communication. While science and technology continue to offer great benefits, each advancement brings new challenges. Dr. Allen Utke is one of many scientists and working to find the balance. He believes to solve today’s growing problems, society should consider its full treasury of knowledge and wisdom. Dr. Allen: What may happen if we don’t get those two things back together? I think we live in a scientific age of technological age where we have acquired the ability to destroy ourselves and we better be very careful about that. I think in order to solve the many challenges that are coming in the being today and will increase in the 24 century that you’re going to need a scientific knowledge of reality and a religious knowledge of reality in order to solve those problems. Overall, science tells us how to do things. It tells us how to build bigger and bigger things and it also puts us in more and more danger as we do that especially in the environment. But science doesn’t tell us whether we ought to do those things. Male: As society grows more complex, there is a tendency to cut life down into sections. New professions and fields of study appear all the time to meet the needs of an increasingly sophisticated world. That’s not how Utke sees it, the split between science and religion is another example of this attempt to separate reality into smaller and smaller pieces. Society will always have a need for finally skilled specialists but it will also need doctor Utke feels more and more people working to connect the pieces. Dr. Allen: We find it necessary to cut it into pieces, chemistry, physics, whatever and in the daily life we become cooks, we become doctors, we become plumbers, we become all sorts of things. So, as our understanding of reality increases, we have to slice it into smaller and smaller pieces. And then we begin to slice the pieces into smaller and smaller pieces. I’m a chemist but I’m an inorganic chemist. I’m an inorganic chemist interested in calcium. I’m a calcium chemist interested in the bioinorganic reactions of calcium in ammonia. So, we narrow reality down by necessity into smaller and smaller pieces. And as we narrow reality down into smaller and smaller pieces our own lives, we loose track of an expanding, growing big picture. That’s the biggest roadblock we face in trying to get a big picture of reality. It’s dividing reality into smaller and smaller pieces. And I don’t have answer to that. It’s very difficult. We need more and more people who try to find and look f