Thursday, May 12, 2011

The conflict between science and religion

The unrecognized heart of the conflict between science and religion is the appeal to authority.  Science does not recognize an appeal to authority as a valid argument, while most religious argument is ultimately based on appeal to religious authority.  This has left people divided into three basic camps:

1)  Those who believe appeal to religious authority can provide true answers in all areas, not just religion.

2)  Those who believe appeal to authority is never a valid argument, in religion or any other area.

3)  Those who believe appeal to authority is a valid argument in areas traditionally or currently demarcated as "religion", but not a valid argument in areas demarcated as "science".  This demarcation would match Stephen Jay Gould's "Non-overlapping Magisteria", although (at least in his short article) he doesn't rationalize it in terms of validity of argument from authority.  I think camp (1) is actually in a stronger position, in asking why if argument from religious authority is considered valid in the "magisteria" of religion why it is not valid everywhere.  After all, the religious works they are referencing do not contain disclaimers to this effect.

3 comments:

Gemfinder said...

I believe in appeal to authority as long as I'm the authority.

ann said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gemfinder said...

For me to believe these 3 categories exist, I must be an essentialist. (head explodes)