One way to distinguish between science and religion is the claim thatscience concerns the natural world, whereas religion concerns both thenatural and the supernatural. Scientific explanations do not appeal tosupernatural entities such as gods or angels (fallen or not), or tonon-natural forces (like miracles, karma, or Qi). Forexample, neuroscientists typically explain our thoughts in terms ofbrain states, not by reference to an immaterial soul or spirit.
The view that science can be demarcated from religion in itsmethodological naturalism is more commonly accepted. For instance, inthe Kitzmiller versus Dover trial, the philosopher of science RobertPennock was called to testify by the plaintiffs on whether IntelligentDesign was a form of creationism, and therefore religion. If it were,the Dover school board policy would violate the Establishment Clauseof the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Building onearlier work (e.g., Pennock 1998), Pennock argued that IntelligentDesign, in its appeal to supernatural mechanisms, was notmethodologically naturalistic, and that methodological naturalism isan essential component of science—though it is not a dogmaticrequirement, it flows from reasonable evidential requirements, such asthe ability to test theories empirically.
Yes, many people have heard of Albert Einsteins General Theory of Relativity, but few people know about the intriguing life that led this scientist to discover what some have called The Greatest Single achievement of human thought.
This quote illustrates the fundamental philosophy of Albert Einstein and provides an insight into the mind of a theoretical physicist and a maverick that revolutionized physics in the early Twentieth Century....
204)"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."(Albert Einstein) "Religion is poetry plus, not science minus."(Krister Stendahl)"Religion is the art of the poetic.
Wilkins and Griffiths (2013) hold that the epistemic premise cansometimes be resisted: evolutionary processes do track truth, forinstance, in the case of commonsense beliefs and, by extension,scientific beliefs. However, they hold that this move does not workfor religious and moral beliefs, because such beliefs are assumed notto be the result of truth-tracking cognitive processes. Some authors(e.g., McCauley 2011) indeed think there is a large difference betweenthe cognitive processes involved in science and in religion, but moreempirical work has to be done on this front.
The cognitive science of religion examines the cognitive basis ofreligious beliefs. Recent work in the field of science and religionhas examined the implications of this research for the justificationof religious beliefs. De Cruz and De Smedt (2015) propose thatarguments in natural theology are also influenced by evolved cognitivedispositions. For example, the design argument may derive itsintuitive appeal from an evolved, early-developed propensity in humansto ascribe purpose and design to objects in their environment. Thiscomplicates natural theological projects, which rely on a distinctionbetween the origins of a religious belief and their justificationthrough reasoned argument.
Some ask whether evolutionary challenges to moral beliefs apply in ananalogous way to religious beliefs (see Bergmann and Kain 2014,especially part III). Others have examined whether evolutionary ethicsmakes appeals to God in ethical matters redundant. John Hare (2004),for example, has argued that this is not the case, becauseevolutionary ethics can only explain why we do things that ultimatelybenefit us, even if indirectly (e.g., through the mechanisms of kinselection and reciprocal altruism). According to Hare (2004),evolutionary ethics does not explain our sense of moral obligationthat goes beyond biological self-interest, as evolutionary theorypredicts that we would always rank biological self-interest over moralobligations. Therefore, theism provides a more coherent explanation ofwhy we feel we have to follow up on moral obligations. Intriguingly,theologians and scientists have begun to collaborate in the field ofevolutionary ethics. For example, the theologian Sarah Coakley hascooperated with the mathematician and biologist Martin Nowak tounderstand altruism and game theory in a broader theological andscientific context (Nowak and Coakley 2013).
This final section will look at two examples of work in science andreligion that have received attention in the recent literature, andthat probably will be important in the coming years: evolutionaryethics and implications of the cognitive science of religion. Otherareas of increasing interest include the theistic multiverse,consciousness, artificial intelligence, and transhumanism.
Scientific findings and theories relevant to human origins come from arange of disciplines, in particular geology, paleoanthropology (thestudy of ancestral hominins, using fossils and other evidence),archaeology, and evolutionary biology. These findings challengetraditional religious accounts of humanity, including the specialcreation of humanity, the imago Dei, the historical Adam andEve, and original sin.
By contrast, some authors see stochasticity as a genuine designfeature, and not just as a physicalist gloss. Their challenge is toexplain how divine providence is compatible with genuine randomness.(Under a deistic view, one could simply say that God started theuniverse off and did not interfere with how it went, but that optionis not open to the theist, and most authors in the field of scienceand religion are theists, rather than deists.) Elizabeth Johnson(1996), using a Thomistic view of divine action, argues that divineprovidence and true randomness are compatible: God gives creaturestrue causal powers, thus making creation more excellent than if theylacked such powers, and random occurrences are also secondary causes;chance is a form of divine creativity that creates novelty, variety,and freedom.
The interpretation of religion, as here advanced, implies a dependenceof science on the religious attitude, a relation which, in our predominantlymaterialistic age, is only too easily overlooked. While it is true thatscientific results are entirely independent from religious or moral considerations,those individuals to whom we owe the great creative achievements of sciencewere all of them imbued with the truly religious conviction that this universeof ours is something perfect and susceptible to the rational striving forknowledge. If this conviction had not been a strongly emotional one andif those searching for knowledge had not been inspired by Spinoza's , they wouid hardly have been capable of that untiringdevotion which alone enables man to attain his greatest achievements.