Religious beliefs often conflict with what scientists consider reality based on tangible facts. Scientists, on the other hand, hardly accept divine-inspired concepts such as that of creation. However, open-minded individuals endeavor to discover the relationship between the two disciplines (De Cruz, 2018). This paper discusses the compromise and the interaction between science and religion. It also highlights Galileo's contribution to the triumph of the heliocentric model and Dan Dennett's stance on teaching religion in schools.
Biotechnologists are currently exploring the use of genetic engineering as a method of, for example, human reproduction. However, these experiments are yet to be unanimously accepted. As such, different countries have imposed laws that either regulate or prohibit the use of genetic engineering in its entirety. For instance, there is a total ban on the cultivation and sale of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in countries like Austria and Greece. In the United States, the Coordinated Framework for Regulation of Biotechnology (1986) regulates the nature of the products resulting from genetic engineering (Acosta, 2014). It is argued that the procedures for genetic engineering are unsafe. According to Mameli (2007), the use of genetic engineering for reproduction may lead to the birth of children with extreme developmental abnormalities.
Aristotle, the Greek Philosopher, opined that religion and science were complementary. According to him, creation was governed by natural laws and science was but a process of deciphering these. Albertus Magnus (Saint Albert the Great) was a bishop and patron saint of natural scientists. He exemplified the idea of the existence of compromise between science and religion. Magnus, a religious man, proposed that the earth was round in addition to discovering the element arsenic (Cortes, Del Rio, & Vigil, 2015). His scientific inclination did not overshadow his deep spirituality.
Johannes Kepler's laws of planetary motion predicted and matched the positions of planets. Galileo Galilei's refracting telescope enabled his astronomical observations which supported Kepler's ideas. The observational discoveries that were activated by Galileo's telescope necessitated the modification of the Copernican heliocentric model. Further, Galileo used Kepler's laws for the computation of the orbital parameters for the orbits of the satellites around Jupiter. Galileo refined the telescopes of his time such that he could see outer space. Today, powerful telescopes are improved versions of Galileo's. As such, conclusions on the studies in space are based on observable evidence.
Charles Townes posits that there are paradoxes in religion and science. Religion teaches about a God of love. It is, therefore, paradoxical that people all over the world experience different kinds of suffering. Some succumb to calamities such as drought and war. In science, Townes points out to the paradox of light (Townes, 1966). It is where light travels through space as a wave but gives out energy as a tiny particle when it reaches its destination.
Stephen Jay Gould advocated for the Non-Overlapping Magisteria (NOMA) model. It proposes that science and religion operate within different boundaries. Kokic (2014) writes that Gould opined that science was factual whereas religion concerned itself with values, ethics, and purpose. The NOMA model is advantageous since it assures one that their religious beliefs cannot be affected by science's materialistic conclusions. However, it often exempts spiritual doctrines from examination even when these beliefs can easily be disputed by science.
The probability spectrum explaining God's existence is a scientific hypothesis. The range comprises two extremes with milestones in between. This probability spectrum has seven levels namely; strong theist, de-facto theist, weak theist, pure agnostic, weak atheist, de-facto atheist, and strong atheist. These levels range from those who affirm God's existence to those who do not believe in his presence.
Finally, Dan Dennett believes that religion should be taught in school mainly so that people can comprehend its nature as a natural phenomenon. According to Dennett, a parent's religious doctrines must not be imposed on their child. This infliction denies a child exposure to the world's growing knowledge. Dennett's advocacy that everything about religion is taught in school exemplifies open-mindedness. He believes in evolution since, according to him, God played his role; designing the laws of nature.
Acosta, L. (2014). Restrictions on Genetically Modified Organisms: United States. Mayis, 16, 2015.
Cortes, M. E., Del Rio, J. P., & Vigil, P. (2015). The harmonious relationship between faith and science from the perspective of some great saints: A brief comment. The Linacre quarterly, 82(1), 3-7.
De Cruz, H. (Fall 2018). Religion and Science. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2018/entries/religion-science/>.
Kokic, T. (2014). The Philosophy of Biology: A Companion for Educators. Filozofska istrazivanja, 34(3), 463-464.
Mameli M. (2007). Reproductive cloning, genetic engineering and the autonomy of the child: the moral agent and the open future. Journal of medical ethics, 33(2), 87-93.
Townes, C. H. (1966). The convergence of science and religion. IBM.
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