ERIC Number: EJ873782
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Mar
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Skepticism, Truth as Coherence, and Constructivist Epistemology: Grounds for Resolving the Discord between Science and Religion?
Staver, John R.
Cultural Studies of Science Education, v5 n1 p19-39 Mar 2010
Science and religion exhibit multiple relationships as ways of knowing. These connections have been characterized as cousinly, mutually respectful, non-overlapping, competitive, proximate-ultimate, dominant-subordinate, and opposing-conflicting. Some of these ties create stress, and tension between science and religion represents a significant chapter in humans' cultural heritage before and since the Enlightenment. Truth, knowledge, and their relation are central to science and religion as ways of knowing, as social institutions, and to their interaction. In religion, truth is revealed through God's word. In science, truth is sought after via empirical methods. Discord can be viewed as a competition for social legitimization between two social institutions whose goals are explaining the world and how it works. Under this view, the root of the discord is truth as correspondence. In this concept of truth, knowledge corresponds to the facts of reality, and conflict is inevitable for many because humans want to ask which one--science or religion--gets the facts correct. But, the root paradox, also known as the problem of the criterion, suggests that seeking to know nature as it is represents a fruitless endeavor. The discord can be set on new ground and resolved by taking a moderately skeptical line of thought, one which employs truth as coherence and a moderate form of constructivist epistemology. Quantum mechanics and evolution as scientific theories and scientific research on human consciousness and vision provide support for this line of argument. Within a constructivist perspective, scientists would relinquish only the pursuit of knowing reality as it is. Scientists would retain everything else. Believers who hold that religion explains reality would come to understand that God never revealed His truth of nature; rather, He revealed His truth in how we are to conduct our lives.
Descriptors: Constructivism (Learning), Scientific Research, Rhetoric, Religion, Quantum Mechanics, Cultural Background, Scientists, Epistemology, Evolution
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
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