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Forget science and religion. Think scientists and religious people.

April 16, 2014

Barbara Herrnstein-Smith nails why scientists and religious people are better units of analysis than science and religion:

The effort to reconcile science and religion responds to the claim or fear that they are in unhappy conflict. It is not obvious, however, that such a conflict exists, at least not in the ongoing lives and experiences of individuals. For many people, accepting, applying, and/or producing scientific knowledge and being religiously observant are no more in conflict than would be, for any of us, both playing the violin and practicing law. They are, rather, two different kinds of things that one may do and/or be: activities performed, identities played out, and experiences sustained in different contexts, each involving different cognitive and bodily configurations, corresponding to different capacities and desires, and offering different forms of satisfaction. While all formal reconciliations of “science” and “religion” appear to be conceptually fragile, the ongoing inhabiting of both is, for many evidently well-functioning people–scientists and science teachers, anthropologists and historians, doctors and engineers–a daily fact of life.

I’ve avoided the SvR debates until now. As I gingerly wade in I will–as I do throughout this blog–try to focus on actual human beings.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Victor permalink
    April 16, 2014 3:05 pm

    Beautiful quote. -V

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