War between religion & science: From conflict to dialogue & all the way back

#1
https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/from...-way-back/

EXCERPT: Terry Eagleton once remarked that regarding religion as an attempt to offer a scientific explanation of the world is rather like seeing ballet as a botched attempt to run for a bus. Eagleton gestures toward a confusion that often afflicts those who advocate for an essential conflict between science and religion — the assumption that the two enterprises are competing for the same explanatory territory. Were this to be true, conflict between them would indeed be pretty much inevitable. An alternative view holds science and religion to be essentially independent operations, concerned with quite different questions. On this model, conflict is unlikely. Equally, dialogue would be unnecessary, perhaps even impossible?

My initial expectation, on approaching Yves Gingras’s *Science and Religion: An Impossible Dialogue*, translated by Peter Keating, was that he might be undertaking an analysis of the conditions that would make a conversation between science and religion possible, and concluding that the requisite conditions could not be met. Something like this has been maintained by others, including the 19th-century churchman John Henry Newman, whose stance (as noted by Gingras) was that “Theology and Science, whether in their respective ideas, or again in their own actual fields, on the whole, are incommunicable, incapable of collision, and needing, at most to be connected, never to be reconciled.” An updated analysis along these lines would have been a welcome intervention into a field in which the merits of dialogue are often taken for granted. But the initial promise of the book’s title went unfulfilled. Gingras instead adopts an alternative and somewhat puzzling configuration: dialogue is impossible, and conflict inevitable.

With this curious combination in mind we turn to the two stated aims of the book: first, to explain how the issue of the relations between science and religion, along with calls for a dialogue between them, came to be a significant topic of discussion in the 1980s; second, to analyze the historical relations between science and religion as institutions in the Western world since the 17th century.

For Gingras, what connects the two tasks is the work of historians of science over the past 40 years, and the consensus among them that there is no overarching pattern to past science-religion relations — neither perpetual harmony, nor unremitting conflict, only complexity. Indeed, historians of science-religion relations now routinely speak of “the conflict myth,” a distant and discredited historiography that arose in the 19th century. Gingras seeks to challenge this consensus and reinstate the older conflict model. A focus on institutions, he believes, will reveal the underlying pattern of conflict that our present-day historians all seem to have overlooked in their faddish insistence on complexities of history.

As for the increasing profile of the idea of science-religion dialogue since the 1980s, this, too, is laid at the feet of the same historians...

MORE: https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/from...-way-back/
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#2
Quote:[...] Indeed, historians of science-religion relations now routinely speak of “the conflict myth,” a distant and discredited historiography that arose in the 19th century. Gingras seeks to challenge this consensus and reinstate the older conflict model.


Lure before bite, blueprint before construction, direction before confidence. Regardless of which side's evidence or argument carries more weight, there's the potential of both parties as being influenced or motivated by either the broader intellectual zeitgeist / propaganda of an era or the agenda of a narrower movement one identifies with.

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#3
Aside from an old conflict with the ruling Catholic church, it seems the bulk of the conflict has been one-way...from atheistic proponents of science. They just use old slights to justify their modern tribalism of calling skeptics "deniers", etc..
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#4
(Jan 5, 2018 05:44 PM)C C Wrote: My initial expectation, on approaching Yves Gingras’s

I'd never heard of Yves Gingras before reading this post. The internet tells me that he's a French Canadian sociologist of science from the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) most of whose writing are in French, hence relatively unfamiliar to Anglophones.

Quote:*Science and Religion: An Impossible Dialogue*, translated by Peter Keating, was that he might be undertaking an analysis of the conditions that would make a conversation between science and religion possible...

It seems to me that noting science's methodological naturalism is a good place to start. Just by its nature, science is concerned with natural explanations for natural phenomena. So religion would seem to be pretty much excluded by definition. The question then is whether the scope of science is identical and co-extensive with the boundaries of reality. To answer 'yes' would seem to pretty much be a definition of 'scientism' and might be a claim that's difficult to defend.

Quote:Gingras instead adopts an alternative and somewhat puzzling configuration: dialogue is impossible, and conflict inevitable.

That seems to be an increasingly popular position to take. I don't think that it's particularly defensible though.

Quote:With this curious combination in mind we turn to the two stated aims of the book: first, to explain how the issue of the relations between science and religion, along with calls for a dialogue between them, came to be a significant topic of discussion in the 1980s

It was a big topic of discussion in the 19th century too. I think that restricting one's view to since 1980 is historically myopic.

Quote:second, to analyze the historical relations between science and religion as institutions in the Western world since the 17th century... For Gingras, what connects the two tasks is the work of historians of science over the past 40 years, and the consensus among them that there is no overarching pattern to past science-religion relations — neither perpetual harmony, nor unremitting conflict, only complexity. Indeed, historians of science-religion relations now routinely speak of “the conflict myth,” a distant and discredited historiography that arose in the 19th century.

I'd agree with that.

Quote:Gingras seeks to challenge this consensus and reinstate the older conflict model. A focus on institutions, he believes, will reveal the underlying pattern of conflict that our present-day historians all seem to have overlooked in their faddish insistence on complexities of history.

I'm inclined to think (based only these excerpts from a rather critical review, I haven't read Gingras' book) that Gingras is on a fool's errand.
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