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While it may surprise some, a noted theologian says a person can be religious and still believe in the theory of evolution. "Not only is it possible, but it's essential to a fuller understanding of the way God creates," says theologian John Haught of Georgetown University, a Roman Catholic.

Haught, one of the speakers at the New York Academy of Sciences' recent Teaching Evolution and the Nature of Science Conference, believes the controversy over whether evolution should be taught in schools overlooks the fact that science and religion are "different disciplines that ask different questions."

According to Haught, embracing scientific truths does not mandate a rejection of all religion. "Science alone doesn't tell us everything we need to know, as it focuses on the observable world," he says. "We may still profitably consult the religions of the world to find the deepest understandings of life and the universe."

Haught emphasizes that both religion and science share a common purpose-to fulfill humankind's thirst for truth. "Evolution teaches us that God creates a world that in some sense can create itself. Such a God is much more impressive than the 'intelligent designer' proposed by the anti-evolutionists," he says.

Founded in 1817, the New York Academy of Sciences is a worldwide nonprofit membership organization committed to building communities and advancing science.
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