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Separate But Equal Essay

1744 words - 7 pages

“Rocks of Ages” is Stephen Jay Gould’s commentary on the conflict between secular scientists and religious believers who reject scientific theory when in it is disagreement with religious teachings about nature and origin of the natural world. Certain aspects of his argument hold true, but the application is impossible and still gives one magisteria a dominance over the other. While it is an accurate account of historical disagreements and critical views of well-known people, his argument is flawed by human nature. He repeatedly contradicts himself and maintains a bias in favor of scientific theory.
Gould begins the extended essay by explaining the purpose of the novel. The preamble is a ...view middle of the document...

He references and quotes work of Charles Darwin, Thomas Huxley, the Bible, and many others. His evidence is from historical leaders who are revered experts in each of their areas of study.
Stephen Gould’s “Rocks of Ages” contributes a belief structure for biology. His faith in biological evolution is similar to the structure of many religions, because science follows teachers, doctrines, and has suffered persecution. Gould does not support strictly modern biological facts and research, but a history of beliefs passed down from biology fundamentalists. Science has teachers that travelled, studied, and researched similar the teachers in many religions. Gould often quotes Charles Darwin and Thomas Huxley’s beliefs who in the science world are equivalent to the disciples in a religious world. Secondly, both areas contain doctrines. For example, The Origin of Species of Darwin and the Natural History Review from Huxley are doctrines for biology and The Bible is the doctrine of Christianity. Finally, both areas of study have endured persecution. Many religions faced persecution during the Reformation and religious wars. Scientists often encountered persecution for releasing their findings. Gould’s favorite example is Galileo’s trial over the shape of the earth. Through Gould’s presentation of historical conflicts between science and religion, he also shows the similarities, which is also a reason for the constant conflict. Both are a belief structure that neither party is willing to release.
A major flaw in Stephen Gould’s argument is his religious ideals and statements. The first flawed religious statement is the idea that religion defines morality. He believes that science determines the facts, so as a scientist it is expected of him to govern his writing with factual information. Religion defining morality is a statement in defense of religion, not a human fact. Gould may be trying to strike a balance and dictate the magisteria’s domain, but religion is not always the predetermination of someone’s moral behavior and ethics. There are atheists that can live in an ethical and morally principled manner, while there are hypocrites that can claim any religion, which is a claim that Gould himself also mentions. The second error is that he ridicules beliefs under the majority of religions as illogical and unacceptable, and his distaste for the fundamentals of Christianity is obvious. However, Gould epitomizes a long standing issue that both science and most organized religions has caused. When religion oversteps its bounds, children do not receive an accurate and full scientific education. And when science oversteps its bounds, you see an establishment of twisted moral reasoning to obtaining a perfect human race. Although Gould’s idea of NOMA is flawed, it does point out underlying issues between the two magisteria.
His final religious fault is his dismissal of religious beliefs. He works under the assumption that everyone will release any religious...

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