The Role of Science in Public Debate on Religion

The aim of this project is to explore and assess different conceptions of science that figure in public debates on religion, particularly in Europe and North America. For a rather long time, science, both its results and its methodology, has been one of the prime sources of critique of religious orthodoxy in the West. Today, though, the picture seems more complex, and one reason for that is that science’s role has become more ambiguous as public debate on religion becomes increasingly concerned with questions about the public and social functions of religion as well as science.

Some argue that to handle the moral and existential challenges of scientific progress, we need balancing public counterforces such as religion, whereas others argue that such appeals to a public role for religion creates more harm than good.

Drawing on typologies primarily from philosophy of religion and philosophy and sociology of science, the research question orienting the project is thus: which conceptions of science and religion do advocates of different views of the public role of science and religion embrace, how (if at all) are they different from “classical” conceptions in Western thought, and how are they related?

Participating researcher: Ulf Zackariasson

Last modified: 2021-03-17