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 OJPP  Vol.10 No.4 , November 2020
Science and Religion: An Alternative View of an Ancient Rivalry
Abstract: Religion is presented as a family of religions, identified by a cluster of religion-making features, most but not all of which must be present, involving beliefs and practices which are diverse and often in conflict. Because of differences in scope, application of scientific method, and vocabulary, science can also be regarded as a family—this time a family of sciences. The universality of the physical sciences contrasts with the more restricted scope of the earth sciences and the human sciences. Their relationship can be shown by a three-tiered pyramid, with the physical sciences at the base, the human sciences at the top, and the earth sciences in the middle. Despite three notable differences between science and religion, science and religion are not, as popularly believed, in conflict. The contrary view, espoused by the “new atheists,” is shown to be based on oversimplified views of religion and science. There are nontheistic religions and science is committed, not to metaphysical naturalism (“scientism”), but only to methodological naturalism. Stephen Jay Gould escapes the conflict view by proposing that science and religion are independent “magisteria”, science being occupied with facts and religion with values. In divorcing the realm of facts from the realm of values, he too distorts their complex nature, for science is not devoid of values and religion makes claims about the facts. As Hume long ago suggested, facts and values are interconnected. While a fact is not the same as a value, a fact cannot support a value without presupposing another value in turn. Interaction between facts and values is here to stay.
Cite this paper: Andre, S. (2020) Science and Religion: An Alternative View of an Ancient Rivalry. Open Journal of Philosophy, 10, 494-510. doi: 10.4236/ojpp.2020.104035.
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