When Science and Religion Collide

12 11 2010

ABC Religion has been kind enough to post response of mine to a very interesting piece by theologian Sarah Coakley on finding a reconciliation between evolution and God.

My response: when science and religion (or any other belief system) make claims that contradict each other, we have very good pragmatic reasons for favouring science. That being so, there is little room left for God, particularly of the interventionist variety. However, using naturalistic means alone, we can still provide a rich and detailed account of things like morality, so it’s not all bad news.

This view won’t be alien to regular readers of this blog, but it may well stir up some controversy on a site that is largely dedicated to discussions of the divine.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of comments it generates. I fully anticipate a strong backlash against the pragmatic argument for the priority of science, likely along the lines that science still presupposes certain ‘truths’ about the world, and these ‘truths’ can only be explained by resorting to a Creator, or something similar. There might also be the usual arguments suggesting morality is impossible without an absolute yardstick. Or, if I’m lucky, there might be some new arguments that I’m not aware of yet. We’ll have to wait and see.

And while I’m talking about ABC Religion, I do recommend that site, even for the atheistically inclined. Lots of solid, well written pieces of high sophistication, even if you disagree with the initial premises. Go give the site a look.



One response

19 02 2012

A belief system is a set of mutually supportive beliefs. The beliefs may be religious, philosophical, ideological or a combination of these
Therefore it can be either true or false.
Science is a pursuit of knowledge, which it matters not what is thought to be true, but what is absolutely true.

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