In class last week, we discussed at length how science and religion have been at odds with one another within the context of American politics and society. How do we reconcile science and religion so that they can coexist within American society? Do we even need to change either science or religion in an intrinsic fashion so that the other can proliferate? What if instead we changed the way our culture communicates both secular and metaphysical doctrine so that people do not have to sacrifice one for the other?
In history, there have been so many examples of times where religion and science have been in the same game of cat-and-dog as they are now, existed in harmony, and even boosted one another to greater heights.
Hostility between religion and science is not new (Vatican imprisonment of Galileo for saying the universe is heliocentric, execution of Giordano Bruno for saying universe is infinite, several U.S. states outlawing the teaching of evolution in the early 1900s, etc…). However, there have been numerous examples of times where they have worked hand-in-hand for the benefit of one another such as Newton being motivated to learn about gravity due to his zealous beliefs that the universe was designed by a higher being, the launch of the scientific revolution in northern Europe due to German Pietism (Sect of Lutherans), and the scientific golden age of Islam. The difference between the two scenarios is that the cultural climates were either open or closed to new ideas and being willing to reinterpret their scriptures based upon what was discovered in the natural world.
Religious attitudes are not the only issue in this predicament; scientific arrogance is rather jarring as well. In class, we also talked about the “Information-Deficit” model as being the most popular way of going about debates pertaining to science. If someone does not agree with a particular realm of science such as the anthropocentric causes of global climate change then our knee-jerk reaction cannot be to scoff at their disbelief. It is easy to act snobby with an intro ENV class under your belt, but a meaningful debate should be propelled by peer-reviewed statistics and logic. Taking part in the “Deficit” model will only leave people jaded and more sure of their own initial position.
Moving forward as a society will come with two requirements: a return to rejecting the infallibility of religion and the eschewing of the Information-Deficit Model. Religion and science are not inherent enemies we can make this sh*t work.