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Is religion vs. science warfare “far from inevitable”?


It’s usually just fake news*, as some thoughtful academics point out:

There are many sciences, many religions. A scientific innovation problematic for one religious tradition may be irrelevant to another. One science may pose a threat to religious beliefs when other sciences do not. Arguing for an essential conflict between science and religion fails because, as the philosopher John Gray has written, terms such as “religion” and “atheism” have no essence.

The sciences may sometimes provide answers to questions once asked within the faith traditions – but they also leave space for religious enquiry and commitment. How do we prioritise competing scientific research projects? With limited resources we must ask what is more important for humankind. But these are not scientific questions – as the historian Noah Yuval Harari identifies in his best-seller Sapiens, only religions and ideologies seek to answer them: “Scientific research can flourish only in alliance with some religion or ideology.” David N Livingstone and John Hedley Brooke, “ War between science and religion is far from inevitable” at The Conversation

Indeed. Apart from anything else, scientists must usually raise money from taxpayers for big projects like space research. Or controversial ones like some national defence strategies. In a free society, scientists need buy-in from people with a variety of views and commitments. Fortunately, goals are usually alignable.

The people promoting a “warfare” thesis almost always have an ax to grind, for example, the claim that religious people would be troubled by the existence of life forms on other planets. There is little evidence for that but it was probably someone’s grant proposal.

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* That is, not entirely false but presented without context, in a misleading way.

See also: NASA cares what your religion thinks about ET


Why Darwinian philosopher Michael Ruse is not a new atheist Ruse: Partly it is aesthetic. They are so vulgar. Dawkins in The God Delusion would fail any introductory philosophy or religion course…


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