Rocks Of Ages Stephen Jay Gould

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Debates between science and religion have become a common occurrence in modern western culture, and as a result of this many have voiced their opinions on how such discussions should be handled. Depending on the topic at hand, people may choose side with science and argue that the evidence provided leads to the proper conclusion, while at other times confer their allegiance to religious texts, such as the Bible, to formulate their opinions. The lack of a guideline or precedent of when and why to go with one or the other can be very frustrating for individuals as well as societies as a whole. In his book, Rocks of Ages, Stephen Jay Gould argues for his method of differentiating between the roles of science and religion in society, which he deems…show more content…
While I would entirely endorse Gould’s view in a perfect world, I think some adjustments need to be made in the form of restriction to its absolution for it to be applicable. Firstly, let us discuss what Gould means by “Non-Overlapping Magisteria,” or NOMA for short. Initially, he defines a magisterium as a “domain where one form of teaching holds the appropriate tools for meaningful discourse and resolution” (Gould 5), and assigns one magisterium to science and religion separately. Furthermore, he states that each of these magisterial deal with separate topics that do not and should not, in theory, overlap. To religion he attributes all topics dealing with ethics, morals, human purpose, values, and others of the same sort. In the other magisterium, science deals with the empirical realm, answering questions such as what things are made of and why do they function in certain ways. In Gould’s view, science is used as a…show more content…
I find that separating them and allotting each a domain in which each has ultimate control and power to be both unrealistic and flawed. Science and religion can and do overlap in some situations. If tomorrow science proved the existence or non-existence of a soul or free will, or an empirical science of morality was created, then there would be some obvious treading of science on large and important aspects of religion; and if God appeared the day after and on a whim altered the basic laws of physics to get rid of gravity, then religion would trump science. All of these scenarios are highly unlikely and the utter extremes of what may happen in the next couple of days, but they are a potential future nonetheless. Nevertheless, in its current state, I find relative power of science and religion (think Creationism and Evolution) on several topics of discussion to be abhorrently skewed. Although it may seem otherwise due to the critical nature of in which I’ve discussed this, I really do agree with Gould in that NOMA would be an ideal way of handling the “false conflict between science and religion.” However, we do not live in an ideal world, and in our society, science is being given the short end of the stick in terms of its applicability in discussions of ethics and

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