Written by Will Lewis
On Wednesday, VSU professors Dr. Cristobal Serran-Pagan y Fuentes and Dr. Leslie Sandra Jones, met to present an alternative to the typical views regarding the relationship between science and religion.
The presentation, entitled “Science as Pseudo-Religion & Religion as Pseudo-Science: Unhealthy Practices that Polarize Our Society,” presented the argument for reaching a middle ground between theology and science.
“There is a need for real dialogue between science and religion,” Dr. Serran-Pagan y Fuentes, said. “We don’t need to continue these polarizations within our societies[…]we really need to build the discourse, allow different voices to be heard and to build narrative stories from both the religious and scientific communities.”
The two professors each critiqued negative aspect within their fields. These attributes ranged from the “narrow-mindedness” of religion to the “arrogance” of science.
The discussion focused on western Christianity, and addressed that the conflict between science and religion stems from “American Fundamentalism.”
“American fundamentalist and Evangelical Christians are the ones that are really taking on science in terms of these issues,” Dr. Jones said.
The science side of the argument examined the viewpoints of controversial atheist Dr. Richard Dawkins, author of “The God Delusional,” as well as the possibility of the two camps being kept separate without being mutually exclusive.
“There are matters of faith and matters of fact,” Dr. Serran-Pagan y Fuentes, said.
Dr. Jones said, “Methodologically, Biology cannot attribute [the origin of life] to God[….] Biologist try to explain the natural world in terms of materialistic explanations.”
Dr. Jones discussed her partnership with Dr. Serran-Pagan y Fuentes in publishing “Matters of Faith: Fact and the Clash Over Evolution,” and several articles that are still pending publication.
“We are trying to create scholarship that says the middle-ground is legitimate, because both of those sides have a vested interest in staying separate and fighting with each other,” Dr. Jones said.
Dr. Jones said that the dualism that is present in the argument is not a view that is possessed by most scientists.
The presentation closed with Dr. Jones and Dr. Serran-Pagan y Fuentes taking questions from the audience. Inquires ranged from whether the controversy was confined to monotheism, to frustration about scientists’ reluctance to adopt the Christian deity as cause for life.