Sunday, September 21, 2008

Does Science Need Religion?

That's the question asked by Scott Hatfield on Monkey Trials. He discusses a recent statement by Malcolm Brown who is Director of Mission and Public Affairs for the Church of England. Scott also responds to criticisms of Brown's position from Jason Rosenhouse. You can find all the links at GOOD SCIENCE, GOOD RELIGION along with an excellent analysis by Scot.

For what it's worth, I agree with much of Scot's analysis and with Jason Rosenhouse. Malcolm Brown is expressing a position that's very common among theists even though it is often denied. For the believer, science has to make room for God and accommodate religion because the two working together are superior to either one on its own. Brown is worried about those who claim to compartmentalize religion and science and keep them separate.

1 comment :

  1. Strictly speaking, no. You can be a great scientist without having a religious philosophy. But there is no "exclusion of religion" clause for scientists, either.

    Now, UNDERSTANDING something about religion helps, and if not understood, things like ID creationism happen. Scientists must not be philosophically illiterate. Unfortunately, many are.

    As a non-religious person, I agree with some religious philosophers who clearly understand the explicit irrationality of religion. I also agree that it is necessary to acknowledge the limits of reason and "evidence". However, I think this is possible without religion, and that religion, by offering "positive" certainties (dogmas, "revealed truths") can easily stand in the way of this task.

    That has always been the self-contradiction of "extreme" relativism: Platinga and other philosophers cannot really extend their questioning of reason into the approval of a religious mindset. Contradictions will emerge, since religious mindsets are all about CERTAINTY