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Encyclopedia > The relationship between religion and science

The relationship between science and religion takes many forms. Generally speaking, religion and science use different methods in their effort to ascertain truth. The scientific method relies on an objective approach to measure, calculate and describe the natural/physical/material universe. Religious methods are typically more subjective (or intersubjective in community), relying on varying notions of authority, through any combination of: revelation, intuition, belief in the supernatural, individual experience, or a combination of these to understand the universe. Science attempts to answer the "how" and "what" questions of observable and verifiable phenomena; religion attempts to answer the "why" questions of value and morals. However, some science also attempts to explain such "why" questions, and some religious authority also extends to "how" and "what" questions regarding the natural world, creating the potential for conflict. Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Science For the scientific journal named Science, see Science (journal). ... When someone sincerely agrees with an assertion, they are claiming that it is the truth. ... Scientific method as envisaged by one of its early exponents, Sir Isaac Newton, is fundamental to the investigation and acquisition of new knowledge based upon physical evidence. ... Taking an objective approach to an issue means having due regard for the known valid evidence (relevant facts and viewpoints) pertaining to that issue. ... The deepest visible-light image of the universe, the Hubble Ultra Deep Field. ... This article needs to be updated. ... This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... The supernatural (Latin: super- exceeding + nature) refers to forces and phenomena which are beyond ordinary scientific understanding. ...


Historically, science has had a close and complex relationship with religion; religious doctrines and motivations have often been central to scientific development, while scientific knowledge has had profound effects on religious beliefs. A common modern view, described by Stephen Jay Gould as "non-overlapping magisteria" (NOMA), is that science and religion deal with fundamentally separate aspects of human experience and so, when each stays within its own domain, they co-exist peacefully.[1] Another view known as the conflict thesis—popularized in the 19th century by John William Draper and Andrew Dickson White, but now largely rejected by historians of science—holds that science and religion inevitably compete for authority over the nature of reality, so that religion has been gradually losing a war with science as scientific explanations become more powerful and widespread. However, neither of these views adequately accounts for the variety of interactions between science and religion (both historically and today), ranging from antagonism to separation to close collaboration.[2] Stephen Jay Gould Stephen Jay Gould (September 10, 1941 – May 20, 2002) was an American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science. ... Galileo before the Holy Office by Joseph-Nicolas Robert-Fleury, a classic depiction of science clashing with religion The conflict thesis, also known as the warfare thesis, the warfare model or the Draper-White thesis, is an interpretive model of the relationship between religion and science. ... John William Draper (1811 - 1882), U.S. (English-born) chemist was a historian & photographer. ... Andrew Dickson White in 1885 Andrew Dickson White (November 7, 1832 – November 4, 1918) was an American diplomat, author, and educator, most known as the co-founder of Cornell University. ...

Contents


The attitudes of religion towards science

Science, and particularly geometry and astronomy, was linked directly to the divine for most medieval scholars. The compass in this 13th century manuscript is a symbol of creation.
Science, and particularly geometry and astronomy, was linked directly to the divine for most medieval scholars. The compass in this 13th century manuscript is a symbol of creation.

Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Judaism and Christianity all developed many centuries before the existence of the scientific method, followed by Islam about a thousand years prior to the modern era; their classical works show an appreciation of the natural world, but express little or no interest in any systematic investigation of it for its own sake. Nevertheless, historians of science owe a debt to practitioners of religion, who in many occasions collected and preserved early scientific texts. Islam, for example, collected scientific texts originating from China to Africa, and from Iberia to India. Image File history File links God_the_Geometer. ... Image File history File links God_the_Geometer. ... Hinduism (Devnāgari: ), also known as Sanatana Dharma () and Vaidika Dharma - ) is a worldwide religious tradition that is based on the Indo-Aryan religion of the Vedas, and is generally regarded as the oldest major religion still practiced in the world today [1]. The term Hinduism is an amorphous concept... Buddhism (more correctly Pali Buddhadhamma or Sanskrit Buddhadharma) is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of the Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama, a prince of the Shakyas, whose lifetime is traditionally given as 566 to 486 BCE. Buddhism spread throughout the ancient Indian sub-continent in the five centuries... Shrine of Confucius in Thian Hock Keng in Singapore. ... Taoism (sometimes written as Daoism) is the English name for: (a) a philosophical school based on the texts the Dao De Jing (ascribed to Laozi) and the Zhuangzi. ... Judaism. ... Christianity is a monotheistic religion centered on the life, teachings, and actions of Jesus of Nazareth, known by Christians as Jesus Christ, as recounted in the New Testament. ... Scientific method as envisaged by one of its early exponents, Sir Isaac Newton, is fundamental to the investigation and acquisition of new knowledge based upon physical evidence. ... Islam (Arabic: ; ( (help· info)), submission (to the will of God)) is a monotheistic faith, considered one of the Abrahamic religions, and the worlds second-largest religion. ...


Proponents of Hinduism claim that Hinduism is not afraid of scientific explorations, nor of the technological progress of mankind. According to them, there is a comprehensive scope and opportunity for Hinduism to mold itself according to the demands and aspirations of the modern world; it has the ability to align itself with both science and spiritualism. This religion uses some modern examples to explain its ancient theories and reinforce its own beliefs. For example, some Hindu thinkers have used the terminology of quantum physics to explain some basic concepts of Hinduism such as the Maya or the illusory and impermanent nature of our existence. Hinduism (Devnāgari: ), also known as Sanatana Dharma () and Vaidika Dharma - ) is a worldwide religious tradition that is based on the Indo-Aryan religion of the Vedas, and is generally regarded as the oldest major religion still practiced in the world today [1]. The term Hinduism is an amorphous concept... Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Science For the scientific journal named Science, see Science (journal). ... Spiritualism is a religious movement, prominent from the 1840s to the 1920s, found primarily in English-speaking countries. ... Fig. ... Maya, in Hinduism, is many things. ...


In the Medieval era some leading thinkers in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, undertook a project of synthesis between religion, philosophy, and natural sciences. For example, the Jewish philosopher Maimonides, like the Christian philosopher Augustine of Hippo, held that if religious teachings were found to contradict certain direct observations about the natural world, then it would be obligatory to reinterpret religious texts to match the known facts. The best knowledge of the cosmos was seen as an important part of arriving at a better understanding of the Bible. Commonly used image indicating one artists conception of Maimonidess appearance Moshe ben Maimon (March 30, 1135–December 13, 1204) was a Jewish rabbi, physician, and philosopher. ... St. ...


This approach has continued down to the present day; Henry Drummond, for example, was a 19th century Scot who wrote many articles, some of which drew on scientific knowledge to tease out and illustrate Christian ideas. Henry Drummond (August 17, 1851 - March 11, 1897), Scottish evangelical writer and lecturer, was born in Stirling. ...


However, by the 1400s tension was keenly felt under the pressures of humanistic learning, as these methods were brought to bear on scripture and sacred tradition, more directly and critically. In Christianity, for instance, to bolster the authority of religion over philosophy and science, which had been eroded by the autonomy of the monasteries, and the rivalry of the universities, the Church reacted against the conflict between scholarship and religious certainty, by giving more explicit sanction to officially correct views of nature and scripture. Similar developments occurred in other religions. This approach, while it tended to temporarily stablize doctrine, was also inclined toward making philosophical and scientific orthodoxy less open to correction, when accepted philosophy became the religiously sanctioned science. Observation and theory became subordinate to dogma. This was especially true for Islam, which canonized Medieval science and effectively brought an end to further scientific advance in the Muslim world. Somewhat differently in the West, early modern science was forged in this environment, in the 16th and 17th centuries: a tumultuous era, prone to favor certainty over probability, and disinclined toward compromise. In reaction to this religious rigidity, and rebelling against the interference of religious dogma, the skeptical left-wing of the Enlightenment increasingly gained the upper hand in the sciences, especially in Europe. The Age of Enlightenment refers to the 18th century in European philosophy, and is often thought of as part of a larger period which includes the Age of Reason. ...


The phenomenon of religious fundamentalism, especially Protestant, Christian fundamentalism which has arisen predominantly in the United States, has been characterized by some historians as originating in the reaction of the conservative Enlightenment against the liberal Enlightenment. In these terms, the scientific community is entirely committed to the skeptical Enlightenment, and has incorporated, into its understanding of the scientific method, an antipathy toward all interference of religion at any point of the scientific enterprise, and especially in the development of theory. While many popularizers of science rely heavily on religious allusions and metaphors in their books and articles, there is absolutely no orthodoxy in such matters, other than the literary value of eclecticism, and the dictates of the marketplace. But fundamentalism, in part because it is an undertaking primarily directed by scientific amateurs, tends to be inclined toward maximal interference of dogma with theory. Typically, fundamentalists are considerably less open to compromise and harmonization schemes than their forebears. They are far more inclined to make strict identification between religiously sanctioned science, and religious orthodoxy; and yet, they share with their early Enlightenment forebears the same optimism that religion is ultimately in harmony with "true" science. They typically favor a cautious empiricism over imaginative and probabilistic theories. This is reflected also in their "grammatical-historical" approach to scripture and tradition, which is increasingly viewed as a source of scientific, as well as religious, certainty. Most significantly, they are openly hostile to the scientific community as a whole, and to scientific materialism. In comparative religion, fundamentalism has come to refer to several different understandings of religious thought and practice, including literal interpretation of sacred texts such as the Bible or the Quran and sometimes also anti-modernist movements in various religions. ... Protestantism is a general grouping of denominations within Christianity. ... Fundamentalist Christianity is a fundamentalist movement, especially within American Protestantism. ... Scientific method as envisaged by one of its early exponents, Sir Isaac Newton, is fundamental to the investigation and acquisition of new knowledge based upon physical evidence. ... This article primarily focuses on the general concepts of matter and existence. ...


The fundamentalist approach to modernity has also been adopted by the Islamic movements among Sunni and Shi'a Muslims across the world, and by some Orthodox Jews. For example, an Enlightenment view of the cosmos is accepted as fact, and read back into ancient texts and traditions, as though they were originally intended to be read this way. Fundamentalists often make claims that issues of modern interest, such as psychology, nutrition, genetics, physics and space travel, are spoken to directly by their ancient traditions, "foretold", in a sense, by their religion's sacred texts. For example, some Muslims claim that quantum mechanics and relativity were predicted in the Qur'an, long before they were formulated by modern scientists; and some Jewish fundamentalists make the same claim in regard to the Torah. Islam (Arabic: ; ( (help· info)), submission (to the will of God)) is a monotheistic faith, considered one of the Abrahamic religions, and the worlds second-largest religion. ... Sunni Islam (Arabic سنّة) is the largest denomination of Islam. ... Shia Islam ( Arabic شيعى follower; English has traditionally used Shiite or Shiite) is the second largest Islamic denomination; some 20-25% of all Muslims are said to follow a Shia tradition. ... Orthodox Judaism is one of the three major branches of Judaism. ... The Quran (Arabic , literally the recitation; also called or The Noble Quran; also transliterated Quran, Koran, and less commonly Alcoran) is the holy book of Islam. ... Torah () is a Hebrew word meaning teaching, instruction, or law. ...


In response to the freethought encouraged by Enlightenment thinkers over the last two centuries, many people have left organized religion altogether. Many people became atheists and agnostics, with no formal affiliation with any religious organization. Many others joined Secular Humanism or the Society for Ethical Culture: non-religious organizations that have a social role similar to that which religion often plays; others joined non-creedal religious organizations, such as Unitarian Universalism. People in these groups no longer accept any religious doctrine or perspective which rests solely on dogmatic authority. Atheism, in its broadest sense, is an absence of belief in the existence of gods. ... Agnosticism is the philosophical view that the truth values of certain claims—particularly theological claims regarding the existence of God, gods, or deities—are unknown, inherently unknowable, or incoherent, and therefore, (some agnostics may go as far to say) irrelevant to life. ... Secular humanism is a humanist philosophy that upholds reason, ethics, and justice, and denies supernaturalism. ... The Society for Ethical Culture is a non-sectarian, ethico-religious movement. ... The flaming chalice is the universally recognized symbol for Unitarian Universalism. ...


In between these positions lies that of non-fundamentalist religious believers. A great many Christians and Jews still accept some or many traditional religious beliefs taught in their respective faith communities, but they no longer accept their tradition's teachings as unquestionable and infallible. Liberal religious believers do believe in gods, and believe that in some way their god(s) revealed their will to humanity. They differ with religious fundamentalists in that they accept that the Bible and other religious documents were written by people, and that these books reflect the cultural and historic limitations and biases of their authors. Thus, liberal religious believers are often comfortable with the findings of archaeological and linguistic research and critical textual study. Some liberal religious believers, such as Conservative Jews, make use of literary and historical analysis of religious texts to understand how they developed, and to see how they might be applied in our own day. Liberal religious Jewish communities include Reform Judaism and Conservative Judaism. For information on the last book of the New Testament see the Book of Revelation. ... Reform Judaism can refer to (1) the largest denomination of Judaism in America and its sibling movements in other countries, (2) a branch of Judaism in the United Kingdom, and (3) the historical predecessor of the American movement that originated in 19th Century Germany. ... Conservative Judaism, also known as Masorti Judaism, is a modern denomination of Judaism that arose in United States in the early 1900s. ...


The attitudes of science towards religion

Scientists have many different views of religious belief.

  • Some scientists consider science and religion mutually exclusive;
  • some believe that scientific and religious belief are independent of one another;
  • some believe that science and religion can and should be united or "reunited;" and
  • some believe that science and religion can conflict because both attempt to accomplish the same thing: inform people's understanding of the natural world.

It has been argued that many scientists' conceptions of deities are generally more abstract and less personal than those of laypeople. Atheism, agnosticism, Humanism and logical positivism are especially popular among people who believe that the scientific method is the best way to approximate an objective description of observable reality, although the scientific method generally deals with different sets of questions than those addressed by theology. The general question of how we acquire knowledge is addressed by the philosophical field of epistemology. Albert Einstein is almost without question, currently the most widely recognized scientist among the general public. ... Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Science For the scientific journal named Science, see Science (journal). ... Atheism, in its broadest sense, is an absence of belief in the existence of gods. ... Agnosticism is the philosophical view that the truth values of certain claims—particularly theological claims regarding the existence of God, gods, or deities—are unknown, inherently unknowable, or incoherent, and therefore, (some agnostics may go as far to say) irrelevant to life. ... Humanism is a broad category of active ethical philosophies that affirm the dignity and worth of all people, based on our ability to determine what is right using the qualities innate to humanity, particularly rationality. ... Logical positivism (later referred to as logical empiricism, rational empiricism, and also neo-positivism) is a philosophy that originated in the Vienna Circle in the 1920s. ... Scientific method as envisaged by one of its early exponents, Sir Isaac Newton, is fundamental to the investigation and acquisition of new knowledge based upon physical evidence. ... Theology is reasoned discourse concerning God (Greek θεος, theos, God, + λογος, logos, word or reason). It can also refer to the study of other religious topics. ... Epistemology is an analytic branch of philosophy which studies the nature, origin, and scope of knowledge. ...


According to a recent survey, belief in a god that is "in intellectual and affective communication with humankind" and belief in "personal immortality" are most popular among mathematicians and least popular among biologists. In total, about 60% of scientists in the United States expressed disbelief or doubt in the existence of deities in 1996. This percentage has been fairly stable over the last 100 years. Among "leading" scientists (surveyed members of the National Academy of Sciences), 93% expressed disbelief or doubt in the existence of a personal god in 1998. (Larson and Witham, 1998) Immortality (or eternal life) is the concept of existing for a potentially infinite, or indeterminate, length of time. ... This article is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... A biologist is a scientist devoted to and producing results in biology through the study of organisms. ... President Harding and the National Academy of Sciences at the White House, Washington, DC, April 1921 The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is a corporation in the United States whose members serve pro bono as advisers to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine. ...


The phrasing of the question can be criticized as presenting an overly narrow definition of god. The survey among NAS scientists was conducted via mail and had a low and perhaps statistically biased return rate of 50%.


Philosophy of science weighs in

Since the era of logical positivism, the philosophy of science has shifted away from scientific realism to instrumentalism and confirmation holism. While the views of professional philosophers of science have not permeated widely to scientists and the public, these views weigh in significantly on the relationship of science and religion and on worldviews in general. In particular, presuming the validity of confirmation holism, no scientific, religious or any other worldview can be conclusively proven by empirical data since data is sufficiently ambiguous to allow competing and sometimes contradictory interpretations. Logical positivism (later referred to as logical empiricism, rational empiricism, and also neo-positivism) is a philosophy that originated in the Vienna Circle in the 1920s. ... The philosophy of science is the branch of philosophy that studies the philosophical assumptions, foundations, and implications of science, including the formal sciences, natural sciences, and social sciences. ... Scientific realism is a view in the philosophy of science about the nature of scientific success, an answer to the question what does the success of science involve? The debate over what the success of science involves centers primarily on the status of unobservable entities (objects, process and events) apparently... In the philosophy of science, instrumentalism is the view that concepts and theories are merely useful instruments whose worth is measured not by whether the concepts and theories are true or false (or correctly depict reality), but how effective they are in explaining and predicting phenomena. ... Confirmational holism is the claim that scientific theories are confirmed or disconfirmed as a whole. ... A world view, also spelled as worldview is a term calqued from the German word Weltanschauung (look onto the world). The German word is also in wide use in English, as well as the translated form world outlook. ...


See also

Robert Millikan pursued the theory of birth cries of atoms for many years, to explain the origin of cosmic rays. ... The creation-evolution controversy (also termed the creation vs. ... Deep ecology is a recent philosophy or ecosophy based on a shift away from the anthropocentric bias of established environmental and green movements. ... In 1610 Galileo published his Starry Messenger, describing the surprising observations that he had made with the new telescope. ... The Gifford Lectures are lectures established by the will of Adam Lord Gifford (d. ... 1579 drawing of the great chain of being from Didacus Valades, Rhetorica Christiana The Great Chain of Being is a classical and western medieval conception of the order of the universe, whose chief characteristic is a strict hierarchal system. ... Intelligent design (ID) is the concept that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection. ... Natural theology is the knowledge of God accessible to all rational human beings without recourse to any special or supposedly supernatural revelation. ... Clarence Darrow (left) and William Jennings Bryan (right) chat in court during the trial. ...

References

^  Stephen Jay Gould. Rock of Ages: Science and Religion in the fullness of life. Ballantine Books, 1999. Stephen Jay Gould Stephen Jay Gould (September 10, 1941 – May 20, 2002) was an American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science. ...


^  Gary Ferngren (editor). Science & Religion: A Historical Introduction. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002. ISBN 0-8018-7038-0

  • Ian Barbour. When Science Meets Religion. SanFrancisco: Harper, 2000.
  • Ian Barbour. Religion and Science: Historical and Contemporary Issues. SanFrancisco: Harper, 1997. ISBN 0-06-060938-9
  • Henry Drummond. Natural Law in the Spiritual World. London: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, 29th Edition, 1890 [3]
  • John F. Haught. Science & Religion: From Conflict to Conversation. Paulist Press, 1995. ISBN 0-8091-3606-6
  • Edward J. Larson and Larry Witham. "Leading scientists still reject God," Nature, Vol. 394, No. 6691 (1998), p. 313.
  • [4] Albert Einstein's various articles on religion and science

Ian Graeme Barbour He was born in Beijing, 1923. ... Henry Drummond (August 17, 1851 - March 11, 1897), Scottish evangelical writer and lecturer, was born in Stirling. ... John (Jack) F. Haught is Landegger Distinguished Professor of Theology at Georgetown University. ... Edward J. Larson (born ?) is an American historian. ... Albert Einstein photographed by Oren J. Turner in 1947. ...

Additional reading

  • Thomas Jay Oord - Science of Love: The Wisdom of Well-Being, Templeton, 2003, ISBN 1932031707
  • Mark Richardson - Wesley Wildman (ed.), Religion & Science: History, Method, Dialogue, Routledge, 1996, ISBN 0415916674
  • Ken Wilber, The Marriage of Sense and Soul : Integrating Science and Religion, Broadway; Reprint edition, 1999, ISBN 0767903439

To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Mark Richardson may be: Mark Richardson (athlete) British athlete and acquitted drugs cheat. ... Ken Wilber Kenneth Earl Wilber Jr. ...

External links


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