Stephen Jay Gould: conflict between science and religion not necessary

Les Schaffer schaffer at
Wed Jan 24 10:57:51 MST 2001

[ bounced from temporarily unsubbed Jim Farmelant <farmelantj at> ]

I have to agree with Lou Paulsen concerning Stephen Jay Gould's views
concerning the relationship between science and religion.  The fact is
that the major Western religions in their most popular forms are far
from accepting the dividing line that Gould proposes for separating
the magisteria of science from religion.

Gould's proposal essentially reduces religion to simply a code of
ethics but religions like Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are far
from accepting a reduction of their claims to the purely ethical.  All
three of their religions make pronouncements concerning the nature and
structure of the universe and man's place in it.  As Lou Paulsen,
points out most Christians accept as an article of faith that Jesus
rose from the dead, and that he and his followers performed all sorts
of miracles.  Christian fundamentalists still vehemently reject
evolution.  Gould's proposal would work if religionists were
Unitarians or Ethical Culturalists but such is not the case.  Gould,
might well get some liberal theologians to agree with his proposals
but they would hardly be acceptable to most of the folk who populate
the pews on Sunday mornings.  Gould in my view seems very naive
concerning the nature and sociology of religious faith as it actually
exists in the US and abroad,

Jim F

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