There are different viewpoints on the question “what is the universe made of?” I think that both science and religion offer their own explanation to this topic and they sometimes overlap, which creates contradictions. Therefore, I do not agree with Stephen Jay Gould’s non-overlapping magisterial, which claims that there is a fine line separating science from religion. That being said, I think the conflict between science and religion is only in the study of evolution. It is possible for a scientist to be religious if he is not studying evolution, because science is very broad and it has various studies. In this essay, I will talk about the conflict between religion and science by comparing the arguments from Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Dawkins. I argue that science and religion do overlap but only in some area concerning evolution and the cosmic design. Furthermore, when these overlaps are present it means that there are conflicts and one must choose between science and religion.
First, I will demonstrate Stephen Jay Gould’s argument against the overlapping between science and religion, which is as follows:
“The lack of conflict between science and religion arises from a lack of overlap between their respective domains of professional expertise—science in the empirical constitution of the universe, and religion in the search for proper ethical values and the spiritual meaning of our lives. The attainment of wisdom in a full life requires extensive attention to both domains—for a great book tells us that the truth can make us free and that we will live in optimal harmony with our fellows when we learn to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.”
Stephen Jay Gould demonstrates his claim that both religion and science can co-exist; he calls this the non-overlapping magisterial. He believes that together they can offer a greater knowledge because religion provides something that science lacks and vice versa. A person can look to science, which focuses on the facts, to understand more about the mechanism of the universe, at the same time, he or she can explore religious beliefs, which focus on moral values, to develop a true sense of right and wrong. Gould explains that these two aspects will result in a person, who is free from ignorance and is grounded by humility. In his argument, Gould seems to only concern with the overlapping between science and Christianity. He defends his non-overlapping magisterial with the claim that “creationism based on biblical literalism makes little sense in either Catholicism or Judaism for neither religion maintains any extensive tradition for reading the Bible as literal truth rather than illuminating literature, based partly on metaphor and allegory (essential components of all good writing) and demanding interpretation for proper understanding.” However, Gould’s non-overlapping magisterial would not hold with other religions that take the biblical stories literally. Hence, there is a conflict with the study of...