Is Science a Religion?

Topics: Scientific method, Science, Religion Pages: 5 (1808 words) Published: June 16, 2013
Is science a religion? This topic has been debated by many creationists and scientists alike. The philosophy of science makes no claims to knowledge about the supernatural or metaphysical and, by not so doing, is left with an enterprise that although hugely successful is also permanently on trial (Manne, 2010). The only thing scientists can agree upon is the empirical nature of science, but the steps from observations to theory are not without philosophical problems. DISCUSSION

Thomas Kuhn thinks that scientific paradigms are essentially pictures of the world that are consistent with observations and logically coherent. But such pictures are necessarily always incomplete, at least until such time as we know everything, and our minds seem to struggle to accept this; it seems like there is an aesthetic compulsion to create harmonious images, even if that means filling in the spaces with metaphysical constructs. Andrew Brown states that the dictionary is wrong; science can be a religion too. He explains that if you strictly use the dictionary definition of science then it cannot be considered a religion, but if you look at science objectively you can see how it could be considered one. He makes a strong argument that religion has too many definitions for science to not be considered one. Richard Dawkins believes the opposite. He states that science is based upon verifiable evidence. Religious faith not only lacks evidence, its independence from evidence is its main virtue. Dawkins makes a good argument for science not being a religion. He even goes so far as to reconsider his stance only if science can get as much education time as religion does. Dawkins’ Atheist views are widely known but there are many more scientists that believe religion has no place in the world. Michael Ruse, on the other hand, asks why religion is not being taught in public schools while science is. His argument is that if “God exists” is a religious claim, why then is “God does not exist” not a religious claim? And if Creationism implies God exists and cannot therefore be taught, why then should science which implies God does not exist be taught? I am sure Dawkins was referring to Sunday school and bible study when he referred to science getting as much education time as science, but Ruse has a valid point. Science is taught in schools due to separation of church and state, therefore everyone has to learn science. Sunday school is voluntary. Peter Harrison demonstrated how the role of religion in the rise of modern science often focused on the way in which religion motivated particular individuals, or provided the essential content of approaches to nature. These relate to the origins of science and assume that, once established, modern science becomes self-justifying. However, seventeenth century criticisms of science, such as attacks on the Royal Society, suggest that science remained unimportant for quite some time. The rise of science to cultural importance in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was possible only because science was eventually able to establish itself as religiously useful initiative. Religion played a key role not only in the origins of modern science, but in providing the ongoing social sanctions that ensured its persistence and rise to prominence. This is a concept I am sure Dawkins would not appreciate, yet it has merit. The relationship between Science and Religion can be explained from two discrete points of view. Some would argue that scientific explanations are the only means of explaining our existence, while others would argue that religion and the story of creation provide a sufficient amount of the world's conception. Religion and science both have the same basis, which are truth and understanding. It is this similarity that allows a direct link between science and religion. I believe that there is sufficient evidence to prove that science and religion are compatible. Albert Einstein had the same...

References: Brown, A. (2012). The dictionary is wrong – science can be a religion too. Retrieved Jan 25, 2013 from
Dawkins, R. (1997). Is Science a Religion? The Humanist. Retrieved Jan 25, 2013 from
Einstein, A. (1930). Religion and Science. Retrieved Jan 25, 2013 from .
Harrison, Peter (2008). Religion, the Royal Society, and the Rise of Science. Theology and Science. Vol. 6, Issue 3. Routledge.
Keeter, S. (2007). Science in America: Religious Belief and Public Attitudes. Retrieved Jan 25, 2013 from
Manne, R. (2010). Is Science A Belief? Is Religion A Science? Retrieved Jan 25, 2013 from
McGrath, A.E (2010). Science and Religion: A New Introduction (2nd Edition). John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Plantinga, A. (2007). Religion and Science. Retrieved Jan 25, 2013 from
Ruse, M. (2010). From a Curriculum Standpoint, Is Science Religion? Retrieved Jan 25, 2013 from
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