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The advent of the 21st century has not abated the lingering science versus religion debate. How life on earth started is still a raging question and many people favoring either side of the issue are still sensitive to it. Ian Barbour cited four categories to describe the relationship between science and religion. According to him, this relationship may be described as one of conflict, independence, dialogue or integration. Among the four typologies, the most apt description of the relationship between science and religion is still conflict. The typology of conflict means that people of either side of the fence still believe that their side is the true side of the issue and the other is not (Clayton 23). The reason that this conflict is not being manifested into violence is because society has become so blasé by this particular issue that it no longer resolves it with violence. Nonetheless, no matter how people have calmed down, there is still an unambiguous opinion as to how life began in the universe: the theists will still claim that a superior entity is the origin of life, while most scientists are still atheists. The curious fact, however, is that even the religious believed in science and accepts its contributions to civilization, but not on its claim as to how life began.
The inherent conflict between religion and science as to the fundamental question of the origin of life reduces the remaining three typologies of Barbour to wistful realities. It is impossible for the typology of independence to exist because it connotes compromise. Although science is acceptable to the religious to some extent, this is not so when the fundamental question of the origin of life arises. Thus, it cannot be said that either side would be willing to say or accept that each has “its own realm where it is authoritative” (Clayton 24) and so long as there lingers a tension that is unresolved or for which the contenders to the issue refuses to resolve the typology of independence cannot be said to describe the relationship between science and religion. Similarly, the typologies of dialogue and integration are incompatible with the concept of conflict and neither is applicable where the question of the origin of life is at issue. The theists will insist that God is the origin of life and this aspect cannot be made subject to a dialogueor compromise. After all, God as the origin of life is the foundation of religion and without this aspect religion is nonexistent.
The question, however, often posed is why people are made to choose between God and science. Although society is benefitting from advances in science, it should not be compelled to surrender God as the origin of life to embrace science (Quintyn249). The only way out for this is when science defers to religion where the aspect of the origin of life is concerned and accepts the typology which can be referred to as ‘dependency’ where science agrees that even its origin is God. It is not impossible for the theists to accept the idea that the seven-day creation may be just a metaphorical account of the genesis of life if science will agree that the beginning of life in the way it presents it still originated from a Supreme Being. This is not the same as the typologies of independence, dialogue and integration because God is placed at the top of the hierarchy and science as the mere explanation or manifestation of that Supreme Being’s omnipotence and omniscience. In this arrangement of things, science is dependent on God, but not vice-versa, so the two are not on equal footing. To achieve this harmonious scheme of things, it is not only religion that must keep itself open, but also science.
Comment: (200 words)
The famous biologist Francis Collins maintains that one can be a biologist and a believing Christian at the same time. He believed in theistic evolution when both religion and science can come to a common ground working together for the good of all. Although a scientist, he greatly rejects the idea of Intelligent Design ( ID ) due to its prejudice against religion. They believe that God is the creator who develops species leaving them to evolve ( Expanding the Options. pg.20 ). After winning the noble prize for succeeding in sequencing the Human Genome in his book, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence of Belief, saying ” For me the experience of sequencing the Human Genome and, uncovering the most remarkable of all texts, , was both a stunning scientific achievement and an occasion to worship” stating ” we had caught the first glimpse of own our instruction book, previously known only to God” ( pgs. 26,27 ) which brought him closer to God as a Christian.
I am a bit septical and a bit confused. Collins defense against Naturalism, in my opinion, is a double standard. In a quote from Richard Dawkin book, The God Delusion, states that God is a delusion ( pg. 21 ) yet he believes that God is good; but have to make you suffer in order to see the light or that in order for a child to learn to run, has to fall many times and in doing so learn to walk first. I agree that many people pray only when in crisis or when they are in need of something make promises, but when they have achieved their requests or when things get better they to go back to their old ways; praying time of reflection asking for guidance and peace. Collins wants a little of both worlds that of Christianity and that of a scientist but is willing to overlook certain rules of who he is and who he represents. As a theistic, not really believing and understanding in the human factor of self-sacrifice ( 27 ) eg. donating a kidney to a complete stranger or doing something one may think as “crazy” to others. But most unbelievable to me is his lack in believing in miracles quoting, ” As a scientist, my standards for miracles very high… and I don’t expect to see one ” ( pg.27) Speaking of morality on a whole is on projected at being only an evolutionist, it like one not practicing what they preach; with this mentality he can as well be a Dawkins. Miracles and Christianity go hand in hands, it’s like being a doubting, Thomas. In my view, science and miracles can never be reconciled, not where Collins is concern, to him, science and God are of the same gray matter.
The early beginnings of what we now know as modern science can be traced back to the ancient Greek philosophers, particularly Aristotle and Plato. The ideas and teachings of these philosophers not only contributed to science as a field, but to organized religions like Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. This is due to what Clayton (2018) describes as viewing these subjects “fluidly” rather than two opposing teachings that conflict with each other. Although they were not religious men, they could be described as spiritual beings that recognized a higher power and the existence of the soul, which is something that many people may not think of when they imagine Greek philosophers.
The world and humanity began to be understood from the viewpoint of Christianity during the medieval period, after the collapse of the Roman civilization. This is when a hierarchy of God and all living things were ordered, and God as the greater power was understood through the world. Although this was a time that relied on God to dictate how one should live and think, the Christian theologians of this time sought to study and gather rational explanations of the world. They cared about the details of their world, they knew it was ordered in a rational way, and that there were laws and principles behind the nature of things (Clayton, 2018, p. 131). Interestingly, these theologians had a considerable impact on science because they were trying to assemble answers systemically rather than relying on mysticism. Despite their studies being guided by religion, the theologians were not against rational thinking and science, they also searched for answers in an organized and logical way.
Modern science established itself as its own field of study during the nineteenth century, resulting in the formation of set boundaries between science and religion. Scientists did not want religion to interfere with their studies, and theologians did not want God to become irrelevant because of these findings. Despite the understanding of these subjects as separate, they were not necessarily at war. Clayton writes about the historical assumption of war between the two fields, “the data certainly don’t support the idea that human history is a zero-sum game, such that, for every point science scores, religion loses one” (2018, p.134). It is commonly presumed that science and religion have always been in conflict, but Clayton is suggesting that these separate fields are not inherently at war like it may seem. Historically it has been shown that is possible for the two areas to compliment each other as people integrate both teachings in their understanding of nature and the world around them.
The Greek philosophy put forward by the ‘big four,’ Parmenides, Heraclitus, Plato and Aristotle gave birth to many scientific subjects today such as physics, biology and psychology and numerous more all in search for the answer to what and how all came into being. They have rejected the idea of human-like gods who could intervene in the natural order whenever they wanted. On the other hand, many of the foundations of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim theology can be traced back to Plato and Aristotle. Though they rejected the idea of a divine being, they still developed some theologies too. I can say that religion and science were always connected.
After the collapse of the Roman empire, Christianity came into dominance. Theology was then an important topic and a dominant form of knowledge. To them, everything had an order: god at the top, angels in the second and then the humans and all other living creatures and things in their proper places. The Christian theologians who were writing the medieval culture became less interested in it and wanted to present a more rational explanation towards the world around them. This shows that religion brought out the urge to a logical explanation of things than to keep it to divine mythology.
Soon after that, science came into place. As traditional dogmas were losing their ways, scientists replaced them with empirical generalizations and laws derived from data. They are castigating theology, as one of the ‘Idols of the Theatre’ by Francis Bacon is an interesting thought. His judgment of the system as a stage play representing worlds of one’s creation after an unreal and scenic fashion and a presence of third class consisting of ones with faith and reverence mixing their theology, traditions, and philosophy and seek science among spirits and genii declares the boundary between science and religion. I think science and religion are connected though however contradicting the two are
There are many rules and laws set in different denominations, it is the same as in the Christian, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism religions. Christianity’s main roles are to follow the teaching of Jesus Christ, along with cultivating the Earth and to care for it. (Genesis 2:15. Clayton. p.g 37) Two different groups of Christians, the traditional fundamentalists believe that God created the heaven and the earth, the first couple; Adam and Eve and did many miraculous events which included the parting of the Red Sea dying on a cross and was resurrected from the dead and at some point will destroy the world in order to rebuild a new earth. However many didn’t share the same sentiment, sought ways to these beliefs by incorporating scientific idealists notations. They believe that God accomplished through theistic evolution using the law of nature. ( Clayton. pg.38 ) In Judaism, the belief was the complete opposite, they accepted the fact that historical events were not historical at all included prophecies fro the Hebrew Bible but metaphorical; they had no objections to science, taking great interest in genetic study and fertility issues.
The Islamic religion didn’t really welcome science believing that science and its ways are positive ways of working against the creator Allah and not the teaching from the Qur’an. Many interests about humanity, the purposiveness of creation, Humans, animal, and evolution looking for ways to incorporate moral and our religious obligations. The Hindu believed that the world was developed by many forms manifestation having no issue with science and the law of nature under Brahman who exists in an eternal and unchanging state of existence, consciousness, and bliss through and rebirth. Indifference to the other religion mention in this chapter, Buddhism had welcome science and religion with no conflict with the exception of a different sec of Buddhists namely the Tibetan Buddhist ( Clayton. pg.53 ) Science was of much importance that the most widely known Dalai Lama that he would choose science over religion with some using the minimalistic way and meditative practices and consciousness in a study called, phenomenology performing many experiments in order to acquire knowledge on presupposing consciousness. ( Clayton. p.g. 53 )
One of the biggest questions that mattered to me was ( Clayton. p.g. 38 ) ” So which mandate is more urgent: not to alter the beliefs about God’s supernatural interventions that have been central to Christianity across the centuries, or not to base one’s faith on assertions that are incompatible with the core methods and conclusions of science?. The Christians are all set in their old ways that limitation science, and to fully understand theistic evolution. I found Judaism questions very interesting, doubting Christianity and it’s bible of inerrant historical and scientific claims, yet is ready to embrace science in order to save their population.
It is great to live in a world where we can believe and what we want to believe. There are many different kinds of religions and we could differentiate between all of them, but we could speculate on what are some common philosophies that they all share? For Christianity and Judaism, we know that there is a correlation between the two is the belief of God and Jesus Christ. For Christianity, they follow the chronicles of the Bible whereas Judaism, follow the Torah. What I found in my interpretation to be common between Christianity and Judaism was God’s presence and intervention for the suffering. In Christianity, they stated that with God’s accordance of the laws of nature, would he not be responsible for times when he did not intervene and allow “innocent children to suffer horribly” (Clayton 2019, pg. 39). In Judaism, they mentioned the Holocaust and questioned his existence during that time (Clayton 2019, pg.40) I found those two to be particularly in common and interesting. It made me think if the suffering was truly needed.
For Islamic tradition, their narratives followed the Quran. They believed in the spirituality, morality, but integrating science to understand them (Clayton 2019 pg. 45) They mentioned in the chapter that between all the religions other Christian Muslim or Jewish that it was” not necessary for science to be anti-religious “ (Clayton 2019 pg. 44 ) I think this is an interesting statement because we continue to debate the topic of science and religion and whether there needs to be separated or not. Also in reference to Ian Barbour’s theology of integration. (Barbour 2002), I find this to be an example of that as well. With Hinduism, Mohammad Gandhi has said he has ‘praised Jesus” and acknowledged some Christian traditions such as Christ. Lastly, with Buddhism, there is a lot of focus on meditation, just like Hinduism does. There is an inner sense of self-awareness, meditation, and consciousness. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about phenomenology which is essentially looking and studying of the lived experience of an individual and its culture.
What I found interesting was on page 56 they mentioned MRI scans on. They stated that the results “were very interesting and that quote scientific data produced could not have been acquired without reference to the mental or conscious state that the subject was in.” (Clayton 2019, pg. 56). I found this to be interesting because I wonder if we can use these MRI scans on people who practice Christianity, Islam, Judaism, etc. With that, we can better understand their consciousness of how they feel about their religion. Imagine that we are able to view screenings of their brains when they’re talking about the religions and how they interpret their religions. I wonder if that used in conjunction with phenomenological studies, we can do compare and contrast how the individuals interpret the perception of science and religion. In my opinion, it is a very interesting concept that could be both informational and beneficial.