A Narrative Allowed for (created) Science

Here is just another example of how ridiculous it is for some to suggest there is some sort of conflict between religion and science or even science and philosophy. It makes one wonder. Do the people who suggest such things read? Have they ever taken a history class or investigated the relationship or connection-at all?

Could modern science have arisen outside the theological matrix of Western Christendom? It is difficult to say. What can be said for certain is that it did arise in that environment, and that theological ideas underpinned some of its central assumptions. Those who argue for the incompatibility of science and religion will draw little comfort from history.

What historical record also suggests is that insofar as modern science posits natural laws and presupposes the constancy of nature, it invokes an implicit theology. Most important of all, perhaps, religious considerations provided vital sanctions for the pursuit of scientific knowledge and, arguably, it is these that account for the positive attitudes to science which have led to the high status of science in the modern West.

This is not to deny that there have been those in the past who have opposed certain scientific views on religious grounds. This has been especially the case since the advent of Darwinianism, which met with a mixed reception in religious circles. It is often forgotten, however, that Darwinism met with a mixed reaction in scientific circles, too.

Those who have magnified more recent controversies about the relations of science and religion, and who have projected them back into historical time, simply perpetuate a historical myth. The myth of a perennial conflict between science and religion is one to which no historian of science would subscribe.

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1 Response to A Narrative Allowed for (created) Science

  1. Burk Braun says:

    Gosh- that theology of hidden-ness again!

    The myth is alive and well, as a matter of fact, since theists continue to make pseudo-scientific claims quite apart from the creationism episode. They can't help themselves.

    On the history, the Muslims had a pretty good run of science in their day, as had the Greeks as well. But whatever the source, current scientists do not in fact appreciate rampant and ill-informed theorizing by theists about souls, cosmic origins, life after death, miracles, psi, “support” of all reality, quantum consciousness, and similar scientific matters. Any other areas of conflict you can think of?


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