Relationship between Science and Religion Essay
Relationship between Science and Religion
The article “Relationship between Science and Religion” outlined the different relationships that the said two domains have had over the years. Historically, religion and science were viewed as strictly separate fields that could not be unified. This view is more popularly known as the conflict thesis . On the other hand, Stephen Jay Gould (1999, quoted in Wikipedia 2007) stated that the two fields could “co-exist peacefully” if they do not intervene with each other’s business.
The article also enumerated different kinds of interactions between the two as presented by Polkinghorne (1998, quoted in Wikipedia 2007). Aside from the constant opposing views regarding the natural world or reality, Polkinghorne illustrated that religion and science may reach a common ground or may even be united with regard to a particular occurrence. After this, the article then went on discussing the early efforts of some religious groups to complement their doctrines with scientific facts.
But of course, there were groups, particularly Islam that resisted the proliferation of science in what they believe as sectarian-dominated world. Inevitably, with the advancement of science and fast modernization of societies, there were new groups formed embodying beliefs apart from the fundamentalist view of religion. These groups range from the liberal Enlightenment advocates to non-fundamentalist sects such as Protestant Christian. There were even organizations formed that are not religiously affiliated but perform functions congruent to what religion usually does.
Though there were new groups organized, some religion, which date back to ancient times claim that their dogma is capable in adjusting with scientific advancement and this has been actually used by them to explain their own theories toward the strengthening of their own beliefs. The last parts of the article list the varied point of views of scientists toward religion. Some view that religion and science are distinct from each other while others believe that the two could be unified.
Others simply believe that the two fields share the same objectives in trying to provide explanation of the happenings in the environment they live in. And also, since religious beliefs are part of cosmos, they can be scientifically tested. Lastly, the article presented studies and findings on relevant issues being tackled. Since the article is not argumentative in nature, it is difficult to determine fallacious statements. The article did not clearly propose or suggest anything nor did it draw any conclusion.
It was presented in a seemingly objective manner. I used the words “seemingly objective” because if one read the paper, it would be observed that the relationship between religion and science were clearly outlined without favoring any of the items. However, as one analyzed the pattern on how the article was written, the biases would be realized. The article enumerated four kinds of interaction between religion and science. However, as the article progresses, only the CONFLICT and INDEPENDENCE kinds of interaction were substantiated.
The paper presented early efforts and manifestations of well-established, if not ancient, religious denominations to reconcile the two fields but it failed to elaborate on this matter. The article could have cited instances, findings or any on-going research wherein the two subject matters were integrated. Instead, the article highlighted some points in history when scientific advancements were sanctioned by religious authorities. Moreover, as if strengthening the idea that religion and science are irreconcilable, the article pointed out the formation of non-religious organizations.
Though the article presented the “non-fundamentalist relationship views”, it fell short in showing that the sectarian side is attempting to make a world where they are both accommodated. For example, aside from mentioning the non-sectarian groups, it could have also stated some religious institutions that support scientific and technological development. The second bias that allude to the favoring of the separation of the two domains are the surveys showing that a higher percentage of scientists do not believe in any religious systems. How about presenting data on spiritual leaders who also uphold basic principles of science?
Lastly, towards the end of the article, it showed findings on the “correlation between religiosity and intelligence”. Though this study didn’t categorically stated that those who observe holy practices and those who are strict believers of religious doctrines have low serotonin levels, it seems to create the stigma. If this line of thinking were continuously propagated, many would be discouraged to associate themselves with any religious beliefs. All the biases lean towards the implication that efforts to settle the differences between religion and science should be abandoned.
This is what makes the article problematic. At first, the writing tried to present the relationship between the two in an objective way. But it failed because biases were evident. If the author had really wanted his output to be presented objectively, he should have shown the two sides of the coin. For example, he asserted the aggressive progression of science but mentioned only historic accounts on the side of religion. Also, he cited a list of studies disputing the validity of religious co-existence with science, but he again failed to mention the side of religion.
Is religion also trying to draw a clear line against science or is it accepting the recent wonders of the latter? Since the author failed to be impartial in writing the article, he should have instead taken a clear-cut position on the issue so readers would be guided in the direction he’s driving at. Bibliography Greene, Perry (1997) Logical Fallacies [Internet], Available from: <http://www. engl. niu. edu/wac/fallacies. html> [Accessed 24 March 2007]. Johnson, George (1998) Science and Religion: Bridging the Great Divide. The New York Times Archives, [Internet], June 30, 1998 Available from: <http://www.
nytimes. com/library/national/science/063098sci-essay. html> [Accessed 24 March 2007]. Raymo, Chet (1998) Skeptics and True Believers: The Exhilarating Connection Between Science and Religion. New York, Walker and Company. Relationship Between Religion and Science (2007) [Internet]. Available from: < http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Relationship_between_religion_and_science#_note-3> [Accessed 24 March 2007]. Shelp, Earl Edward ed. (1985) Theology & Bioethics Exploring the Foundations & Frontiers II Series. Holland, D. Reidel Publishing Company.