Mind, Body, Media
It seems as though organized religion, specifically Christianity, has always reacted with hostility towards scientific advancements. Examples of the church’s animosity towards scientific discoveries that threatened their power, influence, and credibility plague the history books. During the Renaissance and Scientific Revolution many scientists were ostracized from the church for their theories and discoveries. For example, Giordono Bruno, a follower of the Hermetic tradition and an outspoken supporter of the Copernican theory, was summoned by the church to appear before an Inquisition whereby he was found guilty of blasphemy and condemned to death. He was burned at the stake in 1600 (Perry, 70). Galilei Galileo and Johannes Kepler suffered less severe punishments in that they were only excommunicated from the church. Presently, research and scientific discovery are more collective and tend to be funded by corporations thus making it more difficult to pinpoint individual offenses, but the church continues to criticize and condemn science in areas such as cloning and stem cell research, to name but a few.
Before examing the topic of A.I. and religion, it is important to understand why the chasm between the two institutions exists. I will briefly analyze the church’s position on the subject of the Internet, which clarifies their stance on A.I. Many scholars, historians, and church leaders are skeptical about the possibility of a harmonious relationship developing between the church and science. Because the church and its doctrines are based upon ethereal claims and science is rooted in empiricism and veritable evidence, notions of truth are the points at which their differences seem to culminate and their dialogue collapses. However, some believe that the growing rift between the church and science can be lessened. In this paper I will explain how science, specifically Artificial Intelligence, and the church have a future together. I will explore the social and political implications of each institution and establish their commonalties thereby illustrating that in their purest forms, A.I. and religion are not only compatible with each other, but also might prove to be meaningful, possibly even instrumental, in each other’s development.
Science and religious faith seem irreconcilable because they are both attempting to uncover the ultimate question of humanity, ‘What is the meaning of existence?’ Each establishment has confronted this task using very different methods and, thus far, both have yielded very different answers. Some, however, see the two disciplines as complimentary. For instance,
"John Haught, a professor of theology at Georgetown University and the director of the university’s center for the Study of Science and Religion says, "It’s a position that says, ‘Yes, it’s true science and religion are logically distinct and play by different rules, but that we simply can’t think about God the same way, after...