Feb 23, 2014 | By admin
New Effort to Address the Science – Religion Divide
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has embarked on a Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER). The results of an initial DoSER survey was released February 17th at the AAAS annual meeting and researchers reported that “religious and scientific communities may be less combative than is commonly portrayed in the media and in politics.” Only 27 percent of those surveyed said that they viewed science and religion as being in conflict with each other, with the highest percentage being in the evangelical community. A survey by MIT researchers a year ago also found little conflict between science and church doctrine – they reported that only 11% of Americans belong to religions openly rejecting evolution. However the MIT researchers also found a gap between official doctrine and individual beliefs – 48% of respondents in that survey reported believing that humans were created by God in their current form less than 10,000 years ago. The DoSER initiative will now hold a series of regional workshops for local science and evangelical leaders with the goal of building dialogue and understanding. A national conference will follow. As an AAAS article on DoSEr notes: “Ultimately it is the building of real relationships between scientists and religious communities that can provide the best bridges of understanding.”
This effort is an important acknowledgement by an esteemed scientific establishment of the need for improved dialogue with religious communities. In fact, as discussed in the earlier ISAS post, Science – Losing Credibility, the scientific community has been losing credibility in recent decades. We can hope that improved dialogue between scientific and religious communities will reduce the distrust and polarization that seems to dominate media coverage and public policy debates on science policy and funding and on public issues involving medicine, health and the environment.
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