Science and Philosophy Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Science as Religion -- Objective? Or only one perspective amongst many perspectives?

Imagine a human being -- is this individual one's friend, as seen from a distance? Or is he or she a conglomerate of atoms, a mere product of an interaction of natural laws and forces? Or is this individual a composition of cells, healthy and harmful bacteria, bones and muscles? Or a living human spirit?

It all depends, one might say, on the perspective one takes of this friend or organism that is the object of one's personal, physical, biological, and yes religious speculation. The conflict of who we are, and if science is synonymous with objectivity or merely offers one perspective amongst many has been under much debate in the academic community. Bruno Latour, stated that the scientific paradigm is not a separate domain, "but only one voice in the assemblies that make up things," from the physical up through the biological and social composition "of the common world." Even in science, biology, chemistry, and physics do not always offer complementary views of the natural world and human experience, but exist in conflict and multiplicity. (Latour, 2000)

Such a view of science is relatively new, although modern semiotic theory in the humanities has long stressed, in contrast to 19th century scientific rationalist theories of literature, that all disciplines are not perfect and holistic in their scope, but culturally constructed. In such a viewpoint, the scientific rubric is equally constructed as a point-of-view as a philosophy or religion, merely one perspective among many, of human existence. But scientist Richard Dawkins huffed in response to this idea in 1997, during his lecture that "Science is based upon verifiable evidence. Religious faith not only lacks evidence, its independence from evidence is its pride and joy, shouted from the rooftops. Why else would Christians wax critical of doubting Thomas? The other apostles are held up to us as exemplars of virtue because faith was enough for them. Doubting Thomas, on the other hand, required evidence. Perhaps he should be the patron saint of scientists." (Dawkins, 1997)

Dawkins ironically shows his own Christian-centric perspective of religion in this quote, however, and his presumption that because biological science require verifiable physical evidence,…

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